Still learning

After being a mom for 10 years you would think I had this thing down.  But just when you think you have gotten in a grove,  those kids, they go and change things up on you.  
One thing I know about my parenting is that I have high expectations.  High expectations of myself, and of my kids.  I have come to find out that these expectations get in the way... a lot.  Choosing my battles is one thing I have not mastered.  To me every battle seems to be the most important.  After all, I am trying to raise responsible, caring, and hard working kids.  Dan and I never have and never will serve things on a silver platter.  However,  I have started to ask myself more frequently, where is the happy medium?  Where is that spot that we can meet in the middle and everyone can be happy?  My frustrations have far outweighed my happiness these days and I feel guilty.  Guilty that I am taking away a carefree childhood from my kids.  Guilty that I am noticing all the bad things and none of the good.  But most of all guilty that I am not simply being with my kids.  
So today, I write this down to hold myself accountable.  This year, instead of giving up some meaningless thing for lent, I am going to gain something.  I am going to gain happiness.  I am going to gain time with my kids.  Most importantly, I hope to gain a better relationship with the ones I love the most.

Sometimes life just ain't pretty, and that's ok.



It's the little things...

The beginning of a new year always gets me into a sentimental mood.  It's no secret that I don't like the passing of time.  As a matter of fact, I down right hate it.  The thought of my babies growing up sends my heart into palpitations.  Shoot, going up a size in diapers is like open heart surgery to me.  Just wait until the day I don't have to buy diapers at all.  Watch out Target patrons, I might be holding a vigil there.  
On the flip side of the heart ache, I begin to think about all the things that I am missing out on right now while I am worrying about what is behind me.  The constant arguing will eventually fade.  The discipline, the consequences, the bargaining... that will all be a distant memory.  What we will be left with are the good times.  The times we took a walk to the park as a family.  The times I sat down and played games with my kids.  The vacations we took and the moments that we shared, those are what will stay with us.  

While I know this to be true it is still a real struggle to make time for those moments.  To put aside the housecleaning, the cooking, the grocery shopping and truly make time for my kids is challenging. Challenging, that is, until I stop and remind myself of what is truly important.  
I constantly worry about how my kids will grow up.  Will they like me?  Will they say close, or want to move aways?  Will we host family sunday dinners?  These things I may not know until they come but what I can do is lay the foundation for this family and hope that it is strong enough to keep us all together.  

I think January is off to a pretty good start.  

Do you have any of those articles of clothing that you just can't stand but your kid loves?
Yep, this is one of them.  Someday it will disappear.  

 On a side note... How did my kids get so lucky with their eye lashes?


It can only get better

I gave up.  I did. 
I gave up on something I loved because I was worried about how it would make others feel.  I gave up writing about the trials and tribulations of being a mom because I felt like I could't write about what I was really feeling.  Today I am letting that go.  I am starting fresh.  I am doing what makes me happy and not worrying about how others might perceive that.  Back to blogging it is.  The nitty gritty.  The down and dirty.  It ain't always pretty but that's our life... and I am proud of it!

2014 was a challenging year.  We were faced with some difficult situations which led to big decisions which morphed into big changes.  We questioned ourselves, we beat ourselves up, but in the end we did what we felt was the best for our family.  It challenged us to be better parents, to look beyond the surface, to go past what we originally thought was best for our kids and to take the not so easy road. And you know what, we wouldn't change it for the world.  We learned, we grew and we survived.  

And in true form, 2014 went out with a bang...  well, with 3 very sick kids at least.


Lessons learned...

I know every parent complains about how fast time passes, but as a child you just don't get it.  Then you grow up and you realize, there are no truer words.  As a teen every day seemed like a week and every year a decade.  The wait from getting your driving permit to your license was pretty much the end of the world.  Everyone tells you to slow down, enjoy the moment.  But as a teen there is no slowing down, no cherishing of time.  Every day is lived longing for the next.  Then you have kids and you wish you could go back to your teenage self and tell them how fast it all goes.  To live in each moment, the good and the bad.  Learn from each moment.  Because those moments you will never get back.  They will always be apart of you but never like they are when they are happening.  

Nothing makes me feel older than watching this gal grow up.

My sweet little Goddaughter, Abigail, left for college this year and my heart is still hurting.  Not only did I get to be a big part in her upbringing, she has played a important role in my kids lives.  She is the girl I hope Evie grows up to be.  She is fun loving, self confident, wild and crazy.  She loves her family (most of the time) and carries with her a strong sense of faith.  She stands up for herself and others, oh yeah, and she is a pretty amazing soccer player.  I couldn't have asked for a better role model for my kids.  

Apparently we kind of love her and trust her enough to be Evelyn's God-momma.

Abby, you're enthusiasm for life is truly inspirational.  You have taught me so much.
If there is one thing I can teach you, let it be to live in the moment.  The future will come quicker than you could ever imagine, but the past you will never get back.
  Show Gonzaga who is boss.  Have fun, be safe, come home to visit often and always know that we are here for you!
We love you Abigail!


Making a comeback... Hopefully!

Wow, life has been crazier than I ever could have imagined.  Being a mom to four is no joke!
Everyday is a challenge in one way or another.  I let this blog go because I was convinced that no one cared about my trials and tribulations of being the mom of a large family.  I felt like all I did was vent about my misbehaving kids, or my dirty house or my husband that works too much.  It became just one more thing that I had to do.  One more thing that I was failing at.  But,  as the time went on I missed it.  I missed sharing our ups and downs.  I missed sharing my journey through motherhood, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I missed having a place to share my photography.
So, here we go.  

This is what any given day looks like at our house.  Pure chaos.  Fun chaos, but nonetheless, chaos.  The boys are growing up and keeping us busy with sports, practices, homework and everything else that comes with having 3 boys.  Evie, she is another story.  She loves mommy, her bobo and dolls.  Oh, and anything that her brothers may have that she wants (ie. backpacks, lunch boxes, candy, balls, ect.).  She is gaining such the personality and I am starting to realize she is not going to be the docile little girl that I thought she was.  She can hold her own with these three boys.

This summer was spent celebrating my wonderful parents and the family that they have created in their 50 years of marriage.  Hawaii was everything that we could have dreamed it would be with four kids.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and no one was quite ready to come home.  To this day, the boys are asking when we can go back.  

Tyler got to play in his first traveling baseball tournament.  While they may not have won any games, I am pretty sure the boys still had fun.  Going from a winning season to a losing tournament was mentally tough for them, but I think they took it as a learning experience.  There is always next year. 

The boys may have lost but Evie was in for a win.  She finally took her first steps!!

The rest of the summer was spent jumping off the high dive, bar-b-queing with friends, tubing and riding the boat, going to Suncadia and Lake Chelan with friends, and soaking up the not so relaxing days before the chaos of school began.

So there we are.  
The first of what will hopefully be many more posts to come!


Spring Recap

I have just spent the better part of my day cleaning up my picture library, editing the pictures I wanted to keep and getting rid of those I don't.   These pictures document the ups and downs, ins and outs of our lives, yet they just sit here... on my computer.  It made me sad.  Life has been so busy I have neglected the things that I enjoy.  Because that's what you do as a mom, right?  
So here goes nothing...
A little catching up.

 This little one had her one year photo shoot... finally!
She is growing up so fast.  She can now be found at any staircase in a 1 mile radius around her.  It's as if the stairs are magnets sucking her in, which wouldn't be so bad if she actually knew how to get down them. 
We are still working on walking.  She has been seen standing for a few seconds on her own, but heaven forbid she ever actually do it when we want her to.  
Miss Evie makes her presence known, while not so much with words but rather ear curdling screams. I wonder where she learned that from... Graham.  She has acquired some words like Momma, Da Da, Aaa for Alex and Da for dog.  Her new favorite thing is reading.  If you even think about putting her in her crib before bed without reading a book, she will let you know.  

Graham the Man is finishing up his first year of preschool.  Between him and his brother I really am surprised they are still alive.  Alex is in quite the attitude phase and Graham does everything Alex does... making him in an attitude phase too.  Ugh, kill me know.  He may... or may not... make it to his third birthday.  
He had a follow up appointment with craniofacial this last week.  It was weird to be back there.  While they were such a huge part of our lives for the first year, it felt unfamiliar to be back.  While everything looked great they were a little concerned about his speech.  I would have never noticed because I understand almost 100% of what he says.  But once they pointed it out I did realize that those that don't know his frequently have to ask him to repeat.  So now we embark on a little speech therapy.  
Graham is a feisty guy these days who never ceases to keep me on my toes.  I often times take a "rest" when he does so I can recharge for the rest of the day.  Thank goodness for nap time!  
He is my little chatter box in the car, telling me everything he knows.  He will talk to anyone that will listen, the next door neighbor, the clerk at the grocery store... the lady driving down the street with her window down.   

Alexander is a whole other story.  I am confident that he is the reason for the 3 white hairs I pulled out of my head yesterday.  Every single request is met with resistance.  The house is always a little on edge when he wakes up until we know what Alex we are going to get.  The happy go lucky Alex or the whiney, I don't want to do anything Alex.  It's a real joy, let me tell you.  Not sure if this is a phase he is going through, the middle child syndrome coming out, or just who he is but no amount of discipline has seemed to help.  It's a challenging phase for us.  I keep hoping that this too shall pass.

On the happier note, he is entering the final weeks of pre-K at OLL.  We feel so lucky to have had another year with Mrs.  Clayton.  My heart hurts just thinking about saying goodbye to her.  I am pretty sure she is the only reason that Alex actually goes to school, while it may be a challenge some days.  
Alex finished up his T-ball season with a fun root beer float party with his team.  In true Alex fashion, getting him to games was not always fun and often met with resistance, however, he had a blast once he was there.  I am looking forward to all the camps we have scheduled for the summer, although he may not be. 



I love when I get to see this smiling face.

He was so proud of his very first trophy.  Priceless!


Last but certainly not least Tyler.  Not quite sure how I have a 9 year old!  
Almost a third grade graduate, Tyler is so ready for summer.  He had his big third grade sleepover, of which I vividly remember doing as a third grader at ASB.  So fun to see him experiencing all the things that I loved so much as a child.  
Tyler is deep into baseball season with the playoff approaching quickly.  It has been a learning experience for Tyler this year as he is very emotionally involved in sports.  He has grown so much as a teammate and a athlete this season.  He is pitching and has found a love for it.  As a mom, while I love watching him "do his thing" I hate to see how hard he is on himself when the game depends on the pitcher.  Go BroncoHawks!
Tyler has been my saving grace with having 4 kids.  He is a tremendous help with his siblings and I couldn't be more thankful.