Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This space

I'm not sure what to do with this little corner of the internet.

I go back and forth between wanting to jump back into blogging and wanting to delete the whole thing.

I don't have much time these days. 

Well, I suppose this is probably a "cop out".  I've never really had much time and I've made it work.  I guess the truth is I'm less inclined to make it work these days.  The time when I could blog is time I'd rather spend in other ways in this season of life.

Part of my struggle is in deciding what to write.  That's always been a bit of a problem, but as my children grow it seems more of an issue.  I am more and more becoming keenly aware that these stories aren't just mine.  In fact, I'm not sure they are mine at all much of the time.  I have long made a habit of asking permission before posting most things. For every post there are many that go unwritten because they are too personal, too difficult or a dozen other reasons.  Even when permission is granted, I wonder will they change their mind later at 20,30, 55?

So.

Yeah.

I'm not sure what will become of this space. 

Maybe I'll spruce it up with some new writing. 

Maybe I'll take it down. 

Maybe I'll leave it like an abandoned old house.

For now, I'll just stick to saying life is busy and I don't have much time.

Things have been wonderful and hard and fun and boring and fabulous and awful and busy and full and a million other things...that's always been the case and likely always will. 


Really, it could all be summed up in one little word.

Life.

The good, the bad, the ugly...it's all a gift.

I may not be writing about it much these days, but I am trying my best to soak it all up...especially moments like these:










Friday, October 11, 2013

Just because...

Rocklin loves to take pictures and while he prefers to do nature photography, he can't resist taking pics of his adorable baby brother.  I was looking through recent photos and here are a few that he's captured...







Monday, September 23, 2013

And then there were six...

 Alternatively titled, the not so little Rebels meet their new baby brother.

These pictures aren't much as far as photography goes.

We were too busy living the moment to worry about capturing it for later.

Even still, with the blurriness and other imperfections, I think the joy is pretty evident and in my not so humble opinion these pictures are priceless.


First glimpse...







 











































Finally in their arms...






























Parker is SO excited about being a big brother!




















This is one of my favorite pictures ever!  I LOVE how intently they are looking at each other...my heart melts every single time I look at this one. 





Thursday, September 19, 2013

He's here!

It's been way too long since I've posted, I have birthday posts and summer fun posts and posts on a dozen other topics all swirling in my head and my draft box, but alas there isn't enough time or energy in the day right now to get caught up.

I couldn't get posting to work from my phone, but now that I'm on the computer for the first time in over a week, it's time to properly introduce the blog world to our new little guy.

Fisher Simon (Fin)

We are all in love and so, so, so thankful to be given this precious gift!





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Seven

I just sat and looked through my blog archives, amazing how fast the years go by even as the days sometimes seem so long...

Wasn't it a month ago when I was posting about your first birthday?

It couldn't have been five years ago that your favorite gift was a new toothbrush.

Your third birthday came and went so lightening fast, I didn't have a chance to post more than a couple of pictures.

Surely it was just last week that we spent time giggling and snuggling before you fell asleep and grew overnight as you became four.

Then there was turning five and falling in love with Playdough.

A few days ago it seems, we were so excited about all the adventures that would come with being six.

Now, one short blink and here we are at the door of SEVEN!

Happy, happy, happy 7th Birthday, Punky Doo! 

Your joy is contagious, 
your tender heart humbles me, 
your giggles reach down to the depths of my soul, 
your energy exhausts me 
and I am forever grateful that I get to be your mom. 

I hope this year of seven is all you dream it will be and so very much more!

























































Think he likes it?



















Aaron says "No kissies."  Guess what Parker was determined to do?





















Monday, April 29, 2013

It's a...

We had an ultrasound this morning and have news to share...





***"spoilers" below, so watch the video first!***


Aaron did not want to be in the video and we had technical difficulties recording Parker, so that's why this starts with Jerald opening his gift.

We stopped at the store on the way home and picked up six gifts...one for each of them to open and the final one for Grampie (my dad) who kindly hung out at our house while we were gone.  The kids gifts were all gender neutral to keep the suspense going just a few more minutes.  Then we let Grampie open the final gift to show the baby's gender.

It was bittersweet for Mag, she so desires a sister amongst all of these brothers.  Yet, she is thrilled to be getting another sibling even if it's a brother.  Many people think she is "stuck" with all these boys, but the truth is she is blessed by them and she is a huge blessing to them as well.

Jerald was so sure it was a girl, adjusting his expectations to reality has been a bit difficult for him, but I have little doubt that he'll be knitting sweet baby boy things in no time.

As for the others, well Rock and Aaron are just thrilled about a baby and the video should leave no doubt what Parker thinks. ;-)

We are thrilled and blessed by all of our children no matter their gender and this time is no different.

It is an exhausting, exhilarating, joyful and sometimes difficult journey to be a parent, but what a blessing and privilege it is amongst the responsibility!

We cannot wait to welcome our sixth child, fifth son into the world in September!






Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Melting Chocolate not Melting Down

Kev was running out for a late night errand.

No, not to satisfy a pregnancy craving, instead to pick up a medication.

Still awake and always eager to spend time with his Dad, Jay asked to tag along.

Just as they left, I asked them to also grab a Mounds bar.

All was great until they discovered that particular store did not have any Mounds bars.

As is common for many on the autism spectrum, Jay does not handle this sort of "change of plans" well. 

He insisted that Dad drive to a different store.

It was well past Dad's bed time, patience was running thin and going all over to get something that was not a necessity was just not going to fly with him.

Kev's solution was simple and perfectly reasonable, grab a couple of other types of candy bars and call it good.

Simple and reasonable doesn't matter for a kiddo that has a specific request in his mind.  To him, anything less than what I asked for was not acceptable.  There is no room for an alternative.  I didn't say "grab a candy bar too, please."  I asked for a Mounds bar.  Nothing else was gonna do.

Jay started to become visibly and vocally upset. 

It was late, he was tired, things were not going the way he expected, Dad was also frustrated...

This had the potential to escalate into a really bad situation quickly.

Then something happened.

Progress.

Not a baby step either.  A giant leap.

Jay was still upset, but he was able to stop in the moment and problem solve.

"I'll make my own Mounds bar."

and so he did.

Initially, he thought he'd just melt a peppermint patty in the microwave and add coconut to it.

On second thought, he decided he should go to the internet and find a recipe.

At nearly 1am, he tiptoed into my bedroom, jolted me awake (by asking if I was awake) and held out his surprise for me to try.

I'm not sure it tasted much like a real Mounds bar.

The progress behind it though?

Yeah, that makes it taste a MILLION times better than the best chocolate on earth.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the meltdowns, the inability to switch gears and go with plan B or a number of other struggles.

I'm equally sure that amongst those moments, we will continue to see times of progress and nothing could be sweeter!






Friday, April 12, 2013

Of sensory struggles and Mummies

It's a rainy, dreary day and boys are bouncing off the walls.

The morning has been full of quite the mixture of laughter, tears, squealing and screaming. 

Playing nicely one minute and not so nicely the next.

On days like this, I really should resign myself to the fact that trying to get a shower and expecting no injuries, sibling squabbles or property damage is not realistic.

It was clear before the bathroom door was shut that I would need to separate the four boys.  I was naive enough to think that telling Aaron and Parker to get in their beds and play quietly until I came out would actually work.

Um, yeah.  That lasted a whopping thirty seconds.

I first tried the approach that all expert mom's employ...I ignored the ruckus.

When it was clear that would not work, I used my next great mom strategy...

I yelled for them to stop the yelling and chaos.  No, the irony is not lost on me here.

Finally, I realized I would need to get out and deal with the situation before someone ended up needing to go to the ER.  As I tried not to slip while I stumbled, dripping wet, without my glasses to their room, I hoped it would not be ME needing the ER.

I gave Parker a few books (which I should have done to begin with) and told him to enjoy them quietly on his bed until  I came out.

Aaron was having tremendous trouble with impulsiveness and keeping his hands to himself, so I sent him to a spot in the kitchen.  I know that when Aaron is like this it is often because he needs a little help to calm down, re-set, in processing things.

I told him he could play, look at books, jump, spin, whatever he needed to do, but he had to do it alone and not leave the room.

After a much too short shower, I went to the kitchen to find that Aaron was calm and content.

He cannot always communicate it, but his body knows what it needs and I'm so glad more and more he seems to be aware of that. 

When he's practically crawling out of his own skin and cannot keep his hands to himself no matter how hard he tries, he often will grab a blanket. He wraps up as tight as he can and rolls around on the floor.  The deep pressure, tight blanket, rolling around helps him to calm and hit the re-set button.

Such was the case this morning, but with a different twist.

I found him, not tightly rolled up and rolling on the floor.

Rather, he was wrapped up in two of his favorite blankets and quietly standing in the corner.

























He asked "Do you know what I am?"

"King Tut?"

Nope.

"The Sphinx?"

Nope.

"I'm a Mummy in a Mummy case in a Museum."

This then led to a discussion about Mummies, including showing him some pictures in which his only comment on each one was "ew."  He thinks the word sarcophagus is a weird word and that Mummy case sounds much better.

Ten minutes before he was bouncing off the walls. 

A few minutes in a Mummy case and we are doing an impromptu history lesson.

He isn't always able to communicate what he needs.

He doesn't always even know what he needs.

I surely fail often at helping him figure it out.

I'm thankful for moments like this, where I can be "in tune" enough to know he needs to be separate from his siblings and he can follow his body's lead to figure out what he needs.

I'm even more thankful that these moments are happening more often these days.

There are struggles. 

Some days are smothered in struggle for this boy.  

These moments, these glimpses into us figuring things out and setting him up for success are flickers of light at the end of the tunnel.

The calm doesn't always last long, but it's enough. 

It's enough to catch a breath.

To be encouraged to keep trudging on.

It's enough to remind me that my kid is amazing and that he works so hard and has come so far.

We both have.

As he wraps up tight like a Mummy and walks off singing "Walk Like an Egyptian", I want to wrap this moment up in my heart for the tough days...




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bedtime Games

The end of the day, particularly the bedtime routine is often a very difficult part of our day for a myriad of reasons.

When dad works late and isn't home, the routine is disrupted and that makes it harder.

Then, there are nights like tonight that are truly a gift.

At the end of a long difficult day (after a string of long difficult days), I expected a rough bedtime routine when Dad had to head back out just before bedtime for another job.

Instead of the anxiety, tears, stall tactics and just general unpleasantness I expected, there was this...




























A fun game with no tears, much laughter, no anger over losing and two sweet boys that immediately and obediently went right to bed afterward.

Those that know Aaron well, know that he LOVES games.   He spent his entire afternoon creating this game with numbers and the alphabet to play with Parker.

It would have been so easy at 8pm to say "Nope. We'll play it tomorrow, it's bedtime."

Sometimes the clock doesn't matter and a delayed bedtime won't end the world.

Sometimes the fun in the moment is far more important than the pictures to savor the moment.  Sometimes promising to take pictures "only of your hands" is better than trying yet again to "help" your child get over his "issue" with having his picture taken.

Sometimes choosing to give just a tiny bit more of yourself when you are really ready to be done for the day will turn out to bless you more than you could have imagined.

Sometimes when you look back on a day, you can sum it all up with one word...

Thankful.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring is in the air

Well, except that it seems to look an awful lot like a continuation of winter.

Some of us in this house are really, really ready for Spring to work through the identity crisis and start showing us signs of new life and fresh starts.

Others of us are ecstatic to see winter not only last a littler longer, but to decide to bestow one last bit of snow upon us.

One boy in particular loves snow.  In fact, loves it is probably an understatement.  Few things bring him as much joy as the fluffy white stuff, even if it's just flurries. 

Regardless to whether you are in the "Snow at the end of March. Really???" or the fist pumping "Yes. SNOW!!!" camp, you can't deny that it is fun watching children enjoy it with wonder and excitement. 

Especially if you get to watch from inside while sipping a hot beverage and enjoying the quiet that comes from having them all outside for a few minutes.

Of course, not all kiddos like snow and we've sure had our share of that over the years.  We are at a point finally where all of them like it at least enough to tolerate it in small doses.

I'm not a huge fan of the cold or the wet snow really.  I've been known to play in it a bit, but mostly I find it annoying.  It's cold, wet, feels weird and all the mess it brings as my children trample in and out creates more work for me. Bah humbug!

I'm definitely ready for Spring (though not so much the allergies that come with it) and when you feel that way it's easy to grumble and complain when it seems winter will never end.

My first response to this storm was not very positive.  My second, third and fourth responses were admittedly along the same lines.

In an effort to bury my head in the sand and pretend it didn't exist, I pushed forward with my day, insisting my children finish their school and chores before even thinking about going outside.

Then, in the quiet moments while my children played in the snow and I watched from the kitchen window I began to ponder the moment.

I thought about my facebook feed and how many times I scroll through and see complaint after complaint about the weather. 

We are ready for Spring!
Then we complain about the allergies or the pollen on everything or the busy-ness of the schedule that comes from Spring activities.

We are ready for Summer!
Then we complain about the heat that never seems to end.

We are ready for Fall!
Then we complain that summer is winding down, the cold is coming and it's time to hibernate.

We are ready for the holidays that come with winter and some of us are ready for snow!
Then we complain about the busy-ness of the season. We rant about how the cold and dreary weather is getting old.

I don't just mean in the posts of my friends, I can look through and see these sentiments in my own postings too.  Way more often than I'd like to admit.

We can be a grumbly, discontent people can't we?

If not the weather, then...

work

kids

housecleaning

other parents

difficult circumstances

on and on the list goes. 


Some of us by personality are more prone to grumble and complain than others, but even the most joyful and content people I know have admitted struggling with being content at times.

As I thought about this, I realized I can't speak for others, but I know for me that much of my discontent, loss of joy and just general grumpiness seems to start when I put my focus on always waiting for the next moment.

How different things are when I choose joy in the moment I'm in rather than waiting for it to pass.

It isn't always easy to do that.

There are times when no matter how you look at it, there really isn't anything joyful to see.

Yet, even in those moments I think we can find joy in the unseen.  We can hold steadfast to the truth that God loves His people and is always working for their good even when we can't see it or understand it.

I'm a glass half empty kinda gal and my first inclination is almost always to see the negative...the hard, the extra work, the annoying, the inconvenient.

I can't say that these ponderings have led me to turn over a new leaf. 

No promises to never complain or to always see the good first.

What I can say, though, is that for today, for this moment I'm going to embrace the snow.

I'm going to say "Thank you" and see it not as an annoyance or a delay of Spring. 

Rather, I'm going to choose to see it as one last opportunity this winter to watch my children take delight in playing together and building snowmen.

I'm going to choose to be thankful that my children are able and willing to play in the snow instead of grumbling about the wet clothes and the slushy mess now on the family room floor.

I'm going to cherish the laughter and time together that came in the moments after their play as we ate a snack and sipped on tea around the table. 
The screaming that came shortly before,
the frustration that came when one child refused to come in because he had to complete what he started before he could switch gears,
the extra work of preparing tea and a snack that weren't planned...I'm letting all of that (and more) go.

I don't think we can always seize the day, nor do I think we need to cherish every moment. 

It's okay that there are moments we want to forget and days where surviving is a more realistic goal than grabbing it by the horns and yelling "Carpe Diem".

I do think, however, that we would do well to be present in each moment...

to live it...good and bad...and not miss it while we wait for the next one to come along.

Winter will eventually wind down,

Spring will be sprung

and while I shiver a little longer and stock up on tissues for allergy season,

I'm going to commit anew to looking a little harder for joy and contentment in the cracks and crevices of life's moments.