Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Last Thanksgiving

For eight years, we have raised our babies within the walls of one home. We arrived here with adorable twin two-year-olds, a huge, slobbering Great Pyrenees and two young-ish cats. We built a life and a family with each meal, game of hide ‘n’ seek and backyard adventure. This is the only home our littlest has known. We’ve changed diapers, washed endless sinks of dishes, painted hundreds of pictures and dirtied/cleaned each room millions of times during these eight years. This home has provided the walls for our family to grow and bond. It has contained our chaos and protected us from the chaos of the outside world. 

It wasn’t just a house. It was home. 

For years now, nature has been calling to me. As I became more aware of my yearning to live among the trees and feel closer to nature, I put it on my to-do list for later in life. After watching my Dad die within months of finding out he had cancer, I realized to-do lists for later in life are just wishes and hopes, because nothing is guaranteed. I knew then that moving closer to nature needed to happen sooner than later. 

A couple of years passed. We found the house unexpectedly. I had no intentions of moving, but I liked seeing houses for research — to help me create a clearer picture of what I wanted. But once I saw it, I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t chalk it up to research. Demand was high, so we had to make the decision very, very quickly. 

To decide whether to leave behind our beloved home, our beloved neighborhood and our most beloved neighbors — all in the span of 12 hours — was extremely stressful. I almost said no. The stress of that decision and everything else going on in life was just too much. I kept searching for the right answer, convinced there had to be one. 

And then I remembered the enlightenment I had after my Dad died. There are no promises for later in life. So, we made the leap. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, our move has been delayed these past two months. Up until today, I was irritated at all of the obstacles that have prevented us from getting into the new house. But today, I understood. 

I needed one last Thanksgiving inside these walls. One more big memory for the mental scrapbook. A day to honor the home that has held so much love, so many moments of joy. Of anger. Of sadness. Of hope. Of relief. Of connection. Of family. 

Today, we gave thanks to our home.

A few moments from our Thanksgiving: 

Friday, June 12, 2020

A Blogging Resurgence

As you know, Claire found my blog a while back, and I’ll find her reading it every now and again, digging into her early childhood antics. Grace knew the blog existed, but was more indifferent to it. Until a month or so ago. We were arguing about previous Halloween costumes and used the blog to settle the dispute. We read a couple more entries and then she spent the next few hours soaking it all up. I opened the door to their room one night and she looked up from the computer, sighed a heavy sigh, smiled and said, “Mom, I LOVE your blog.” 

Not gonna lie — the tears sprung to my eyes and a little lump formed in my throat. When I first started writing, it was equal parts wanting to share our lives with friends/family and wanting a record of all the little memories I knew I would forget. And now, 10 years later, I am so grateful I wrote it all down. 

I want them to know how silly they were. I want them to see how close they were. I want them to read about moments they’ll never remember. But most of all, I want them to know just how loved they are and have always been. When I became a mother, I remember thinking about all the sacrifices my mom must have made for me. I came to understand how much she must have loved me in order to keep me alive all those sleepless years. Not only will my kids understand that sentiment if they decide to have kids, but they have 500+ blog posts that paint a pretty full picture of my love. 

And now I’m feeling a revived motivation to start writing again. One of my biggest regrets these past five years is the lack of posts. So many amazing stories that I never jotted down. So much has transpired in life that we’ll forget in the next decade. Of course, I also have compassion for myself. Life is hard. And busy. And sometimes you just want to escape into bad television instead of recapping how your four-year-old son ran around outside in his birthday suit. 

So, we’ll give it another go. With the girls’ rally cries for more blogs and watching how much joy it’s bringing to their older selves, I’m giving it another go. Their 20-year-old selves will be grateful. Probably.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Happy 5th Birthday, Little Buddy

Five years ago today, I was sitting on the back patio eating peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. I was 9 million months pregnant, had just visited the OB earlier in the day and was feeling quite uncomfortable. Except for that ice cream. It hit the spot.

Later that evening, Henry made his grand entrance into the world. 

At the time, it had been five years since I had an infant, but I wasn’t too worried because we had already climbed this mountain before, times two. And this time, I was going to have two eager five-year-old helpers. How hard could this really be? 

Ha. Ha. ... Ha. 

If you’ve been following the blog/our lives for a while, you know exactly how hard. 

Henry lives life at full-speed. He wakes up early and full of energy. He spends his days (and many of his nights) squeezing out every last drop. He loves hard and without restraint. He feels the full range of emotions at their extremes. When he’s joyful, you can feel it warming up your insides just from being near him. When he’s sad, your heart breaks alongside his tender feelings. When he’s in a comedic mood, you’ll find yourself laughing out loud, too. And when he’s angry, it’s best to clear the room until the storm passes. 

To put it mildly, I wasn’t quite expecting such a full-steam-ahead approach to life. My experience until that point was with the girls who were more go-with-the-flow. They had their fair share of tantrums and obstinance, but I could eventually bend them to my will. Henry’s less interested in bending. To anyone. Ever. 

That’s not completely true. At preschool, he was a delight. He listened, corrected his behavior when necessary and loved all his friends fiercely. So, basically, he is capable of being civilized. My neighbors may be surprised by that as he often gets the mail in just his underwear. And the newspaper in his underwear. And will stop to chat with them as they walk by … in his underwear. You win some, you lose some.  

The other day I was talking to my mom on the phone, and Henry was starting to push the limits of my patience. I sighed loudly and said, “This child is my greatest challenge.” She laughed because she had one of those, too. 

Oh, Henry. 

He still loves his sisters to the moon and back. He loves them so much, he wants to be just like them. He wants to play what they’re playing, eat what they’re eating, talk like they’re talking (I’ll apologize now to his kindergarten teacher for all the “buttheads.”) Some days, they get along famously. Some days, they fight like arch enemies. Most days, there’s some of both. I was always worried about having a boy so many years after twin girls. I was worried he’d get left out of their sister/twin relationship. But so far, they have managed this tricycle pretty nicely.

Henry and Scott still have a great bond. They both LOVE cars and will look through Henry’s collection again and again. He can identify almost all makes on the road and Scott’s working on teaching him the models. Scott puts him to bed each night, and they have a sweet routine that’s usually full of Henry giggles. 

And Bubs and I? We’re still like PB&J. Sweet and sticky and stuck together forever. He has started calling me “boo-boo,” which is just about the cutest thing ever. He still loves to snuggle in the mornings, although he doesn’t do it quite as often as he used to. We have our moments, of course. Moments where the words “boo-boo” aren’t uttered, and instead he’ll yell something like “You’re not my family anymore!!” Moments where his anger is so big, it comes spilling out of him. Moments where he hits and kicks. But like waves on the rocks, I just try to stay steady and consistent and smooth out his sharp edges. 

Some days the challenge of raising a strong-willed kid feels overwhelming and I doubt my ability to handle him saying “no” even one more time. But if you’re lucky enough to have a kid like Henry, you know that he not only challenges your sanity and your calm, he stretches you. He stretches your patience so it’s bigger and more consistent. He stretches your compassion and empathy. He stretches your creativity and problem-solving. He stretches your ideas of parenthood and what it means to be a good one. And most importantly, he stretches your capacity for love. Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly love anymore than you do, he grabs your hand and says, “Come on, boo-boo. Let’s go play together.” 

Happy 5th birthday, Henry-doodle. I hope it’s been as spectacular as you are. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Best Memorial Day Ever

By Claire

On Memorial Day, we usually have a family reunion with some family members I don't know and some of my besties. But this time, we had fun going to my grandmothers' side of the family.

My favorite part was seeing the people grandma has told me so much about. She told me who made all these historic quilts and pillows I found. I got to put roses on almost all of our family members there.

My second favorite part was when we got out of the car at the cemetery, their dog Chloe jumped on me. My grandma also was happy when she saw me finding loose flowers and putting them on people's graves that didn't have any flowers.

The cool part was my great great aunt and uncles grave had flowers on it even though they died a long time ago and nobody in our family we think puts flowers on there graves. That means that random people put flowers on them.

Another fun part was we got to sweep all the dirt off of Aunt Molly's grave.


Life right now

By Grace

Ok, so life right now isn't the best, but we're making it through. I mean, we are one of those lucky families. I mean, we don't have coronavirus. I mean, we don't think.

We wear our masks ... well, most of the time. It's so hard.

Today, we went to our grandma's. She broke her bone under her knee, so we had to go get her stuff for it. And we stayed there for awhile and we had our masks on, but at they very end, we just couldn't  any longer. So, we took them off.

And we had to go to the store to go get her that stuff, with our masks on, of course. Everything was different there. There were things to telling you to be 6 feet apart. And all the workers were wearing masks. I felt bad for those people who have to where those things all day. I had to take it off for a second to breath. It was terrible! I would like to say something to all of those hardworking people right now. Thank you so much!

Bye for now!

Happy Memorial Day

By: Grace

Ok, I know it's 3 days after it, but I had to write about something.

So for memorial day I had to do a family tree my mom made me. I did it on both sides my dad's and my mom's, and at first I thought it would be hard, but then it was easy and fun!

On my dad's side, we went to my grandma's family graves. And then we went to go have lunch with them and Betsy. And we got to see 2 car parades, which was pretty cool. My dad, my brother and my grandpa loved it. We loved it too, but they LOVED it, if you know what I mean.

Then, to add on top of the great day, we got ice cream and it was delicious! And then we went home, but before I go, I would like to say a special thanks for helping me with my family tree:

Grandma Nancy
Grandma Sue
Grandpa Rod
Aunt Pam
Aunt Mary

Thank you guys so much for helping. I would not know what I would have done with out your guys' help. Thank you!

Bye for now!

my outdoor kid life

By: Claire
Henry and I love building castles in the sand. It's like our job. Sometimes we put water in the sand box and pretend its flooding. When it gets close to our castle, we build a dam or we make towers, castles, flooded areas, oceans, beaches -- all that kind of stuff.

One time, we were in our pajamas and we flooded the sandbox. Then we sat in it. Awesome, huh?

Sometimes, we go over to my friend's house and swing -- distantly from each other -- on her swings and we talk and talk about the corona virus life. Sometimes, we go over to my other friend's house and jump on the trampoline and sometimes we go over to the cul-de-sac and play.
Best neighborhood ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!😃