Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I give of myself

I find that things happen for a reason, sometimes without even knowing it. This weekend I went to the Northern CA Meet-N-Greet for MOMS Club. It was an uplifting experience, and far surpassed my expectations. I was apprehensive of going, I was going by myself, Robert was dropping me off in Manteca, and then traveling on to Sacramento to see his mom for a visit.

I was worried. How would the kids do? How would Rebecca do? Would I leak milk halfway through the event? Would I get a panicky call that Robert couldn't find me (w/o GPS/map book, I'm always using my smart phone for directions when we go out as a family)? I didn't know anyone there? Aghhhh. It really shouldn't have been that big of a deal; yet, I was having anxiety. Seriously what gives? I prayed on it, I let it go, I kept the phrase, "What will be, will be. Don't sweat the small stuff." It was a 3 hour drive with that phrase in my head, but I needed that to get me through w/o nitpicking on my husband, children, or driving myself crazier.

Going there, and being surrounded by women; not just any women, but women who were committed to providing support to others in their community, was inspiring. We came from all walks of life, not one of us had the same background. Yet we all at one time, reached out for support, and now we were returning the favor.

I am a total sap-I fell back in love with the concepts, the ideas. It's not rocket science. However, its very AP, wholesome, lovey dovey lets hang out vibe, and then boom. Someone mentioned Moms Night Out, Iron Chef, Lunch Bunch. I ♥ it. I am energized. I remember what brought me into the fold, what I got out of it, what I want to put into it. I ♥ it. I have wondered what this next year is going to bring. How it could be the last year for being part of MC. Do I want it to end? What do I need as a mom, a parent, a woman, a sister? I come back to this. I am who I am because I made the conscious decision to reach out- that is forever in my DNA. I love being surrounded by others, I love being part of something. I may not know what it is I'm doing half the time, but I'll fake it until I make it, or make a bumbling fool of myself and have a great story to tell when I'm old and gray.

What I give of myself: love. energy. a drive. a passion. a desire to be connected to those in my community, both next door to me, and from afar.

Robert managed with the boys and Rebecca. Grandma had a wonderful visit, which I got to hear about while I waited for my crew to pick me up after the event. I did not leak (and this is huge, considering I'm preparing for a road trip with Heather later this month. It took a leap of faith, a lot of prayer, and everything worked out.

Bring on the next challenge, my phrase of "What will be, will be. Don't sweat the small stuff." will get me through. Trust, faith, it has amazing results :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You have your hands full

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.

If I had a dollar for every single time I hear that, I'd have quite the retirement fund. Yes, I hear that a lot. When I'm at the grocery store, two kids walking alongside me, one hanging off the cart, the baby in her infant car seat taking up the entire bottom of the basket. I hear that at the post office, when I have all three boys, standing outside where the post office boxes are, and the baby is on my hip, because our post office is tiny-and better them standing there looking at boxes than them playing with the line markers.

I even heard it on the soccer field yesterday, as I trudged through 98 degree heat with three wound up boys, and a sweaty baby, looking for a soccer coach that was nowhere to be found (but was at another site). My kids were not obnoxious or rude, they were well behaved-its not the most pleasant experience to think you're going to play soccer and meet your team, only to find out you're not getting to play because we had the wrong information. Yet it took time, patience on my part, and we made it through. And then it came, "You have your hands full." No, that's not why I was irritated-it was because of miscommunication-yet in the grand scheme of life, it was not a huge deal, we got over it. Its not worth sweating about-literally and figuratively, this is going to happen. Its all how you handle it-and I knew I had four sets of eyes on me watching as I handled it.

It's the "You have your hands full." remark that made me think "Really, you don't think I know that?" I simply said, "Yes, and I wouldn't change it for anything, its a lot of fun." I mean it. Although the noise is loud sometimes, the rare bits of silence at my home is deafening. Although the laundry piles up quickly, we do one load a day (or at least make an effort to) so it doesn't get out of hand-yet if and when it does, it gets put away quickly with five sets of hands to help. Although the food bill grows by the month, no one goes hungry. Although I contemplate just how we're going to pay for soccer, school pictures, life in general times four, my parents did it. Many parents do it. We're not made of money, yet we never went without, and neither will our children. We will make it work.

What we have is a lot of fun. There is always someone to play with, someone to read to, some adventure waiting. I may sit and wonder what adventure will happen for me when all my children are in school/preschool, yet I am enjoying what I have now. I may have my hands full, but at the end of the day, my home is full with all the babies I wanted to have, and therefore my heart is full. There's no better way to be.


I'm jumping in where I can. When I knew life was going to pick up once school started, I knew I was onto something. The words that have been on my mind are "deliberate" "gentle" "kindness" "respect". It is challenging to get up some mornings, I have four children who need/crave/want my attention. I am finding that losing the remote to the tv has been the biggest blessing-for now-I will replace it, but that is the least of my concerns. Sitting with my boys before dropping them off at school this morning, my strawberry shortcake girl playing with them, I see how blessed I am to have what I have. My biggest fear is missing out on these days-knowing how others are not as fortunate, for any number of reasons, hurts my heart. All I can do is pray-and for those close to home, offer a helping hand. Below are just a few snapshots from the first day to school.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ducks in a row

Summer. I blinked, and school started today. It will be an adjustment, three in school. Two in grade school, one in pre-Kindergarten preschool three days a week. I loved spending time with the younger two today, but as I told a friend, "When I went to get my boys-I was like "Bring on the noise!" Only having two home, my house was too quiet, and too clean. Not trying to rush the year, but still, I missed my full house today." Yes, I sent my children to preschool, yes I send them to school, but yes, I love the noise. Call that strange, but I'm used to a full house. I hope that I can resume posting here, and get on track with other aspects of motherhood. I'm all for relaxation, barefoot summertime fun. I love it-and at the same time, I love having things to do and places to go (but really, wasn't that our pace this summer too?)
There's work stuff to get squared away, but motherhood does come first. It did, it has, it will. It's the season, time in my life where I can be a mom. Selfish or not, its my time. So I'll do what needs to get done, and get my ducks in row.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Memory banks

I had big plans for tonight. Night before school, special meal, special dessert. Then I heard this song, and realized, in the end it doesn't matter. Who does what, with whom, to whom, doesn't matter. I'm blessed I get to see my boys off to school tomorrow, one more memory for our memory banks. Looking forward to the rest of tonight, and what tomorrow brings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here and now

This song has been in my head lately-I'm working to let go, and be. Its not always an easy thing to do-when your mind races about the long to-do list, and you wonder how everything will get managed. Robert has been talking frequently about returning to the prison-it would mean more pay, but a different schedule. One I'm not completely fond of. I'm not sure where we'll end up-we've seen how money doesn't buy happiness, it does make some things easier, but its not the solution to everything.

Family time is keeping me busy. Chalk play outside. Riding bicycles and a tricycle. Mohawk hair cuts. Visits with friends. Taco truck dinners. I'm soaking up the last days of summer vacation. We had rootbeer floats this weekend, watched the Carebear movie on Netflix. Playing barefoot outside, picnic dinner in the shade. Park days and water play, tans and smoothies. This is what summer has been, wonder what fall will be like.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Partners in parenting

Its Plank Pullin time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.

Last night as Robert came home late from work, I was thankful that he was home. Not because he as safe and in one piece (although that did come second), but because I was tired. I was tired, Rebecca was tired, and I wanted someone home to share the load. Very few days are like that-maybe my patience is changing as my children are getting older but I'm used to having a level of exhaustion from having children. The boys were still up at the summertime hour of 9:30 p.m.-yet, I know with school approaching next week, early rising and early bedtime will come into play.

Yet this is where the plank comes out-I like being on my own too w/ the kids. How selfish does that sound? When its just the five of us, I get to decide what to do for the day, what we're eating, where we'll end up. No one looks twice (although the kids may pipe up) if the house gets gnarly looking-yet I somehow manage to pull it back together before Robert comes home. Yesterday was a prime example. The boys decided to make a fort-turned their room upside down with all the blankets spilling out into the living room-couch cushions too, it was a lovely fort-kept them entertained while I went back and forth between housework, reading a magazine, tending to the baby. I played too with them. It was fun. There was no one to tell us it had to get picked up-so we could get out, or do something, or because someone was coming home-except for me. Eventually it got done, but it was on my time (which has its own pros and cons).

I decided what we were going to have for lunch-and then surprised the boys with a trip to Sonic for happy hour slushies. We went to the grocery store-always a fun feat with four young children-filled with sideway glances from strangers who probably wonder why anyone would want to go to the store with four children. I do it because if I don't go alone-I'll have to wait until Robert gets home, and that's not always feasible-or desirable. Dinner was easy-because it was something that I chose-pancakes-and the boys were overjoyed. No requests for meat and potatoes, veggies, something hearty.

The cost of the day was minimal-yet I totally get that because my husband does the work he does, and there's money left over after bills, that we can do treats like this, and I can stay with my children. I love him for when he comes home, his pile of cover shirts, the familiar clunk of his law enforcement tools. It wouldn't be the same if I didn't see his size 13 shoes by the front door, his lunch cooler on the counter. I see the indent on the pillow where he slept-where I know he was the night before, and pray he'll do again tonight.

I may say I like being on my own with my children-but having a partner, one who is as involved as he can be-I wouldn't change that for the world.

So what are your planks? If you're feeling really inspired, write your own post and link up below! I promise not to point and laugh at your plank, just offer support and encouragement. (Don't forget to put the name of your post in the "name" box)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A busy life

A busy life isn't always going from event to event, or planning the next big shopping trip. For me being busy is about tending to the day to day lives of my family, my children, and doing what needs to get done so that when life picks up at warp speed-I'm not completely frazzled. This blog has been neglected-but not for lack of wanting to post. It just is what it is-life with kids and a husband, along with friends and family does that. I've connected with Twitter-to hopefully connect the bits and pieces I want to journal-and have them saved so I can refer back to them later. If I do-great-if not-well, chances are I've either talked about them with the people that matter in my life, or something else caught my interest.

This week was a mellow buzz of activity. We had summer camp and playtime with friends. I had my friend Katie come over with her boys, and we celebrated her birthday with pizza and Little Rascals on Netflix. We spent the day in Santa Cruz with my brother-both at Natural Bridges State Park and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We had our old babysitter visit for the afternoon, swimming and spending time with the children. I went through Rebecca's next set of baby clothes, and set aside items to give to moms expecting little ones soon. I had my Tuesday night get together with Heather, and made a new friend w/ someone she met-and her five month old daughter too. It will be nice to have someone that has a little one Rebecca's age to relate to when it comes to the baby stuff-and I love making new friends too. I cleaned house, made pie, and cooked. I cleaned, let go, and moved on. Life is busy, but very good.

I did a couple of shopping trips-one netting me $52 worth of peanut butter, pasta sauce, razor, and chocolate for $1.90 out of pocket, and a trip to Save Mart which netted me 12 free boxes of cereal and 3 lbs of fruit (between coupons, sale, and gas card promotion). I am happy with the results, and the little effort it took to pull the inserts for the trip.

There are scores of pictures I have taken over the weeks-ones I will save to the external hard drive and prep for the photo books. I should post some-I really should. If you don't see them here, check FB-its always easy to post and check there.

That's life in a nutshell for this past week, hope yours was just as awesome :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

She's human too

I love FB-no, I like FB. No, I can't stand FB. And so the roller coaster goes. As many people know people play out their lives on FB-some seems more glamorous than others, some more down to earth. Some are Debbie Downers (but then really need the support too). Some just seem

I personally like it for sharing tidbits-things that are happening, questions I may have, and for having that connection-because that's just who I am. I saw a couple of posts last night-ones that made me go "Hmmmm" You never know the whole story, what people go through, what may have taken place for them to be where they're at-life happens. FB doesn't capture it-it provides a glimpse-but its subjective-what one puts out is what others see.

In any case, they're normal. Kids aren't perfect. House is a disaster. Life is beautiful, messy, chaotic. We're building memories, living life, being spontaneous.

And yes, I can still be spontaneous with 4 kids-just the level of which has been altered-but that's thanks to Dave Ramsey. We have made choices, responsible, challenging, out of our comfort zone. I'm not lacking, its all about perception-I'm human too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Yesterday was a mellow day at home. We opened the windows and played outside before it was miserable outside. I roasted a chickcn in the morning hours for dinner-much easier on all of us to cook while its cool, and eat something chilled when its gross outside. The sweet potato homefries were a hit-we used up the three large potatoes we bought, and Robert brought the remainder for lunch today. The chicken was moist-and the kids gobbled it up. Rebecca liked it too.

I'm going back and forth about the fall. The school year is almost here-will be here mid-month. I've enjoyed my boys immensely-this time, this age, is altogether fleeting. Yet the days when I work from home (the nights I work too) and the kids were at summer camp were great too. I don't have all the answers-I won't pretend to. I will figure out what works for us-maybe by muddling through it and seeing where we end up. I want my kids to enjoy and have opportunities-and I want to raise them too. I was talking with the preschool teacher today, and talked about how Elijah is going to the preschool room, and then transitional kindergarten the following fall. The major upside is that transitional kindergarten is free-yet it means two years of kindergarten (at least seen by Kingsburg schools). I feel ambivalent-if only because I love the preschool where he's going now-and can't think of him not going there.

Wait.....I understand. Its because in one year, Rebecca will be just past a year and a half old, and then in two years when Elijah goes to transitional kindergarten, she'll be two and a half. I've been so immersed in diaper changes and soaking up her babyhood-it is odd to think of her as anything but a baby. Then again, last summer I couldn't quite see myself w/ a baby daughter, even though I was nearly six months pregnant. I'm wide awake-not blinking, soaking up this crazy journey of parenthood.