Saturday, September 24, 2016

closing out the last week of "mommyschool" with ginnastics, silly brothers and a walkathon

 the three cutest bums ever.
 other than this little captain america bum. Lo was doing this too but wouldn't let me snap a pic!
 be jealous.I know I am. It's probably the most fun class in the entire school.
 LOVE my boys and love this shot. hot but beautiful day!
 nothing hotter than a daddy pushing a double stroller! And love panda's new obsession with kitty.

 we did markers for two days, then clay and then paints (watercolor and acrylic) for prek. She's a little artist obviously like her mama. And it calms me down... I feel so zen after our prek sessions!

Friday, September 23, 2016

learning to Dare Greatly

It's only been like 8 months since I started reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown... I have no excuse for not finishing it earlier since I can easily blaze through a book I really like in about a day. But this book made me stop and think and reflect and realize that I was living my life and parenting in a way that I was not happy with.
This book helped me realize how much I deal with shame on a daily basis, a "never good enough" attitude I have around my husband and kids and then I flip that when I am in public display, of trying to look like I have it all together, easily and effortlessly, when the dark reality is so far from the truth it's absurd.

I don't like who I am when I can't stop eating cinnamon rolls. Or yelling at my kids. Or checking social media. It frustrates me that I can't parent 4 kids the way I parented 2, that I can't achieve the body I had before I had kids (which is ludicrous and a whole other post altogether) and still eat whatever I want, that my time is broken into tiny little tidbits where I feel I can get nothing done, or I am too tired to get anything of value done. Not to mention (despite my best efforts) my house is NEVER EVER 100% clean and it DRIVES ME NUTS. I am a perfectionist trapped in an imperfect body! Help!

Unfortunately, this book has opened my eyes to a lot of things, mostly concerning my interactions with my firstborn. When he does something wrong, he starts smacking himself in the head, which drives me CRAZYYYY. But today I realized that you know what?! He and I are a lot more alike than I give him credit for. He is always striving for perfection, whether it is hitting the ball at every at bat, or being ranked #1 among his fitbit challengers, or not being yelled at by his parents because his little siblings are watching and imitating his every move. The only difference is that I hide my shame on a daily basis, instead of using the guilt to fuel change, which would require being more vulnerable. Which I hate, especially in front of my children and ESPECIALLY in front of people I don't see very often, because I assume everyone thinks I can't get my act together because I have so many small kids. What's worse that people having high expectations of you? People having terribly low expectations of you. It sucks.
So here I am, dirty mirrors, hiding my (cinnamon roll) post baby bump with a much cuter baby, ready to start daring greatly. Asking myself the hard questions, owning up to my mistakes and encouraging my kids to do the same and hopefully learn from them. Source.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

using the autumnal equinox as my second round of new year's, complete with resolutions.

Resolving:
1. Stop being such a rubbish (irritated, checked out, stressed) mom.
2. Get showered and dressed before lunchtime. This is seriously such a struggle!
3. Plan and eat better meals (no more meals made entirely of goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, veggie straws...)
4. Get daily one on one time with each of my kids, even for a few minutes.
5. Do what makes me happy.... truly enjoy my life.

Plan of action:
1. Deep breaths. 20 pushups when I feel like screaming (per recommendation of my 6yo).
2. Pack gym bag (with homemade protein bar so I don't get post workout hangry) night before. I've been pretty consistent in going to the gym just about every day, and for the last two weeks or so I have been good about bringing my bag to shower but sometimes I still forget stuff. It helps that my commute is now 5 minutes which makes me feel far less guilty taking 60 minutes to workout and then 15 minutes to shower and get ready for the day, all while my kids are being cared for by the gym childcare... if you bother figuring out the math like I do it equates to about $2 a day every time I do that. Pretty cheap for a babysitter!
^^ "I'm dressed for fall even though it's 90+ outside!"^^
^^Looks like dirt but it is actually knockoff LaraBar brownie. Walnuts, cocoa, dates, and mini cc's.^^
I am still on a mad hunt for the perfect homemade protein/postworkout bar I can stash in my bag.
3. It is a law of science that if I make healthy and delicious meals my kids will hate most of what is on their plate. But I feel less bad eating the leftovers.
can you tell eggs are the only protein my kids will touch these days? and tuna fish with mayo.
4. One on one time is still a work in progress because I still tend to be selfish about my personal "me" time, especially during naptime. But at noonish I put the babies to nap and little a gets some "mommy preschool" with me. We pick out a letter, practice handwriting, talk about what words start with that letter, and do a little arts and crafts thing (play doh, painting, crayons, watercolor, etc).
 look at those cute"B"s!!! I even convinced her she could write "bear" since she knew how to write an "A"! She was too scared to try out the "R" though. I am loving our collaborative artworks and we definitely need more space to hang everything up!



(today's was definitely my favorite)
As far as the boys go, I am trying to be a better mom to little d by being more willing to say "yes" which usually means more playdates (and kids!) than I know what to do with. ;) A good problem to have! I try to make an effort to stay on top of his school work and I even got to volunteer at his class the other day, which was a blast. I wish I could do that more often but there are other things that require my attention (like 3 little things!). I am learning to let go of my control of him and try to focus on weekends and days off to enjoy that one on one time with him. Eventually I will transition to allowing Drew to put the babies to bed so I can use that time to spend with little d, but since I am usually the one to bathe the little kids and feel like I can do it efficiently and get them to bed faster than anyone else can, I just do it. And this week I taught little d to take a shower on his own! Washing and rinsing hair is still hard but he is getting the hang out it and I am so proud of him!
The babies are tricky. My solo time with them is only if I wake up as early as they do and big brother hasn't woken up yet (like what happened on tuesday): so we went for a quick pre-breakfast run:
 or, IF little a takes a nap and the boys wake up before little d gets home we get a quiet little 30 minutes or so in the playroom, which typically involves Panda doing trains and Lo playing IronMan and tearing them apart!
 and most of my mornings (post-gym) I try to make special for my 3 littles.... we do picnic lunches, jump on the trampoline, run little errands, go to a playground, etc. Mostly as a "thank you" for letting me go to the gym and get in a shower for the better half of their early morning, But they get a happy mama for the rest of the day so it's a fair trade.
 like letting the boys check out the construction vehicles over by our neighborhood Kroger
 Kroger because little sister wanted some more "pink gum", which I liberally use to bribe her on a daily basis (how else would I get errands done?!?) Speaking of little sis, we also let her do gymnastics (against my better judgement since her favorite parts are "running around to let it go song" and "jumping on trampoline", both things she does on the daily at our house! But she loves it and gets to go be a big girl with her BFFs and she literally looks forward to it all week.
(said in her little voice):  GINNASTICS GOOOOOALS!
 I still haven't mastered the art of shopping without my kids. Me time is too precious to spend wasted at Kroger! Plus, my girl still loves shopping with me and the boys haven't learned to hate it. Yet. And yes that Buggy Bench is literally saving my life. (I wish I had bought it 3 years ago!!!!). No more shopping with the BOB! Not that I don't love my jogging stroller, because I do! But its 100000x easier to snap on the BB and get the twins in any shopping cart (and we take up way less space!). I still have the same problem of the boys trying to stand in it, same as with the regular shopping cart seat, but that's life!

We've been watching a lot of movies thanks to this stupid heat. I am so over summer. That goes along with me not being such a rubbish mommy, I am trying not to care too much about screen time usage, especially when it's hotter than hades after school and even I don't want to be outside. Not enjoyable.
 and that last part about enjoying myself, I am learning to only do things because I want to, not because I feel obligated to. I took the littles to little d's baseball game for an hour because my mom had already babysat for me that morning and it was nice to show the littles to support their big brother. It did take a lot of planning and prep!
 and I did take the twins to watch little a at gymnastics a few weeks back. It was crazy dealing with the babies (rotating the one I was chasing and one that was strapped to my back) and trying to watch her at the same time but totally worth it. And bless Cristin (the twins' mom) for being willing to take her every week so I don't have to!
 while I try not to encourage her to be awake till all hours of the night after everyone is asleep, it has been cute to see what our little night owl is up to at 11pm each night (putting her little people and barbies to bed!)
(from little d's baseball game)

So..... I'm alive. I'm not snapping as many pictures as I would like or blogging as much as I want to, but I am enjoying and living my life and recognizing that I have so much to be grateful for.

Also this talk and specifically this quote from it just about made my day because it was exactly what I needed to hear:

"Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.”7 He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

yet another indisputable fact about having 4 kids in 5 years

YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL.

Maybe not ever, but definitely not in the forseeable future.

Whenever someone comes over and sees a clean house, it is probably because I have ignored my children for the last hour or so trying to get the house clean (or they have been napping and I've been cleaning). Or because we have an ant problem (that was probably my fault to begin with) and if we leave ANYTHING out overnight it becomes a HUGE problem.

Whenever someone let me know how healthy/well prepared my meals are, it is because I sacrifice time I should be sleeping or doing something else during naptime to prep my family's meals.
Whenever someone asks me how on earth I manage to run errands with my kids, my response is usually, when would I have time to run them otherwise?!?!

Whenever someone comments on how good I am about blogging, it is usually because it is the only "hobby" I have time for anymore.
Whenever someone mentions how do I find time to workout, I just tell them if I didn't find the time to workout, I wouldn't be able to have the energy to do half of what I have to do on a daily basis. My workout is my SANITY.

And whenever my house is completely in shambles, it is because I have been enjoying my kids far too much, letting them make messes and just having a good time with them, usually getting nothing substantial done aside from a little one on one time with each kid if I am really lucky. Today was the latter, and while I enjoyed my day, I still tried to get (too much) done before bedtime, which for me is now midnight. And I'm getting up early to get in a workout before the kids are up, because I am volunteering at D's class in the morning, and the afternoon will be occupied with little d's baseball game, leaving no time to workout otherwise.
(I still can't believe E is a full head taller than little d these days!!!)
SO while most days feel like a drudgery of sleep-eat-feed children-clean up children-repeat... I am grateful that while I don't have much to show for it, my kids are alive and they make me feel alive and happy every single day. My life is not perfect, I will never figure out the perfect balance of a clean house and clean and happy kids and a hobby or job to go alongside it....and for now, that is okay. I love being able to be a stay at home mom and be with my kids when they are little because I know how short that time is, and that is what has worked for me. My life is crazy and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Monday, September 19, 2016

and then there were two.

I swear we started off 2016 with at 20-ish binkies. Not even joking.

Tonight we could only find one. ONE!! So one baby (Lo) went to sleep and then after he fell asleep I took it out of his mouth and gave it to Lan. Gross, sorry, but true story. And yes, they have swapped and shared binkies since basically day 1, they share everything.

Thankfully Drew found a second binky after everyone was in bed, so we now have two. That will stay in their cribs until...who knows when. Lo has some bit of all his top teeth, molars included (!) and most of his bottom, Panda still has a bit to go, so I am willing to keep the binkies as long as they are teething.

Lots of Elmo's Bye Bye Binky song, and little A comforting the binkyless babes during the day since she's a pro (almost exactly 2 years ago this week!) at binky weaning.
 yup, they are the cutest!! I love their little smiles and mannerisms and they love sitting like big kids in their little nursery chairs for meals (the picnic table was getting too hard to clean with all the grooves so we moved it outside!)
 a lot of power struggles these days... Lo whines/screeches when upset and Panda sobs like the world is ending. And I hide in the pantry, stuffing my face with chocolate chips to deal with it...
 still use that picnic table though ;)
 I did sell my other Ergo awhile back, and aside from one or two instances, I have not regretted it! it is VERY easy for me to manage only one baby running away from me and the other is usually happy to be strapped on my back (usually Lo because he pulls my hair less!)
 It HAD to be documented... A was at a friend's house so I was trying to get HW done with little d and the boys just grabbed books and plopped down on the floor! ADORABLE.