Give Thanks

If you’ve been keeping up with the FB posts here lately, you’ll know that our Crazy May has indeed continued the last few days with RL taking another turn for the sickies Friday night (and then being totally OUT of it all day Saturday) and then Truman following suit (in the messiest way possible) late Saturday afternoon, resulting in more couch “sleeping” and So. MUCH. Laundry!

In the midst of all this chaos I realized I dropped the ball last week on Teacher Appreciation gifts (and also Mother’s Day cards, because adulting is hard), so the kids are taking them this week instead.

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Now I know in the past I’ve done “crafty” TA gifts because I’ve written posts about them (as if someone might pin them – *snort*) but clearly that’s just not happening in our world right now, so instead, a little truth for you. This year I went the “support local businesses” route instead, buying gift cards for teacher gifts (for coffee/alcohol, depending on their preferences – lol) and, a first, store bought (but still local!) cookies to share after LT’s preschool program.

Do I feel bad about this? Not at all. It’s what we could do and no one wants anything coming directly out of my house right now, anyway, so it’s all for the greater good.

img_0100Also for the greater good? Actually expressing gratitude (that gets hard when you’re low on sleep and immune systems), and by this I mean: writing thank yous.

Now. Writing thank yous is something my mom made us do always when we were growing up. I know I sometimes drug my feet a bit on it, but I’m pretty sure I always did them and the habit has stuck with me. I continue to send thank yous because I think they matter and I think they help us focus on the good in our life (and I don’t believe thank yous are just for responses to gifts, an idea that is supported by this book which is a great read), and I want my kids to do the same.

Writing thank yous is clearly nothing new in this house, but this weekend you would have thought I threw the biggest curve ball EVER when I asked the boys to do theirs to accompany their Teacher Appreciation gifts (RL was still convalescing and she wrote a thank you note of her own volition on Friday for a friend, so she’s clearly not part of this).

For the record, I was age-appropriate in my asking. HD was asked to write his in entirety and LT was asked just to sign his.

To protect the not-so-innocent, I won’t go into detail about what ensued, but it was ridiculous and long-lasting enough to frustrate even the utmost of patient parents (which I doubt we were given the lack of sleep and abundance of sickies in our house this week).

Eventualllllllllllly, they got their acts together and completed the tasks (and yes, HD wrote the perfectly lovely note I knew he was capable of doing). It’s not that they don’t appreciate and like their teachers; they just didn’t like and appreciate me telling them to tell them. And I get it. Forcing them to do thank yous creates one more power struggle here at home, but dang if it isn’t one that I’m going to keep after because I do want them to give thanks (preferably with a more grateful heart, but we’ll get there). I want them to know how to look around and see all that is being provided for them and to be able to express gratitude for it because those are valuable tools (and gifts).

Eventually we will find a way to remove the struggle from our thanks giving, which as you can see, RL has down in the best new-writer fashion:img_0128img_0126

 

 

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Little Ben

I don’t know if it is more of a physical or personality resemblance, but I have long thought that of all my kids, Lincoln is our Little Ben. There is just something about those two that makes them seem awfully similar to one another, so why not write about LT on B’s bday? 😉

One indicator that Linky is his Daddy’s boy? I can already see that Lincoln, should he one day decide to embark on such, is going to be a terrific daddy himself! For real, this kid loves babies, which I didn’t quite put together until after Wilson got home from Omaha.

It was clear that Lincoln loved Baby Truman, too, but I thought that was more of a toddler thing perhaps. LT was 2 and change when TJ was born, and whenever Lincoln was having a fit or was upset, his go-to way to self-soothe was to run to Truman and hug him. It was sweet but I didn’t know just how characteristic it was of Lincoln until this time around with a new baby when by far the things I hear him say the most are:

“Ooooo, I just can’t stop hugging her, Mama!”
“She is so adorable. She is so huggable!”

And, “Where’s Wilson? I need to give her a hug!” (not much guessing involved to determine his Love Language, eh?)

Take this morning, for example, when Ben and Lincoln were getting ready for school (and a longer than normal day for Lincoln away from the house). Lincoln could not head out the door until he’d figured out where Wilson was hanging out so he could, you guessed it, give her a big hug and snuggle.

Holding her, helping me get things for her, talking to her during Tummy Time…all of these are Lincoln’s super skills right now and it is so sweet to observe. As if this girl didn’t already have a bunch of Super Fans! Clearly she’s got a No.1 champion in her No.2 big brother.

There is a LOT to be said about the Effing Fours (which we are thankfully seeing less and less of now that we’ve crossed over the 4.5 mark), but some bits of four are absolutely fabulous, including how big, soft, and huggable their hearts make them.

 

Flip of the Switch? 

Sometimes with Littles, changes are gradual and you don’t even notice until weeks later that they are demonstrating some new skill or wearing capris that once where definitely pants. And then other times, kiddos can seemingly overnight do something that draws your attention and makes you go, “Whoa! Where did you come from, child?!”

I had one of those switch flipped moments with Lincoln this week and as baffled as I am, I am also happy for him and pleased to see this kind of growth in him. 

If you know LT via the blog or my stories, you know him more as I know him…a loveable, athletic, uber independent, little spitfire. If you also/only know him in person, unless you are around him a LOT, you might see glimpses of these things, but mostly he has always been far more reserved and withdrawn with others outside of our family. 

Case in point? We have been tossing around the idea of having him evaluated for speech and when I discussed it with his teacher so she could keep an ear out for any indicators, she (unsurprisingly) agreed but also said (unsurprisingly), “But he doesn’t really say much at school.”

Then yesterday happened and we met for the first time a new sitter who is going to help me out occasionally this year and my kid who is normally hiding behind my legs (& will probably continue to do that, btw) was an animated goof the whole time she was at the house….talking, running around, kind of a wild man (way to show the sitter what she’s in for, kid!) goof! It was really fascinating to see. 

And then today? More confirmation of a change and some growth. We attended our first Toddler Art in over two years (birth of and subsequent year of napping Truman + Tuesday preK last year kept us away) and Lincoln was totally into it. He was pumped to go, and he participated by singing and volunteering answers to questions (this was the part that made my heart swell a bit). Again – fascinating and so, so cool to witness.

The most fitting part of today? The art theme was turtles and I couldn’t help but think I was literally observing my own kid come out of his shell a bit while we were there. Not that there has ever been anything wrong with him or that I’ve been waiting or pushing for this, but I still love that he’s willing and able to put himself out there more than ever. 

Plus, I have been telling friends for years that when this kid does come out of his shell to watch out, world, because there will be no stopping him. Looks like we might just be at the start of a very grand new adventure!! 

Life with a 4yo

Life with a 4 year-old is many things, and often many things in a very short time span. Take this morning, for instance…

Life with a 4yo is him walking into your bedroom and leaning his head against Mama, just for a second, just to say “hey.”

It is seeing just how many times and in how many ways you can touch your sister at the breakfast table even though Mama has said at least five times, “For the love of all things holy, quit messing around and Just. EAT!”

It is being totally cool with wearing pajamas all the live-long days (that are not church/preschool days) and being extra excited to be big enough to move up to the next size of Brother’s hand-me-downs (no, really – bless his sweet heart. he was SO excited to see some of the clothes I pulled out for him to wear, in part because he is so thrilled to be wearing stuff that HD remembers wearing).

Life with a 4yo is spending five minutes frantically pulling bikes and random yard toys/tools out of the garage so you can get to the double stroller that he has specifically requested for taking to school drop off for the first time this year.

It is then spending the next five minutes (the first half of the walk to school) telling him (with the help of the big siblings who had to help with extraction/wait to get going) that he picked the stroller so now he must RIDE in the stroller.

img_7547It is THEN spending the next five minutes (and later, the whole way home) pushing just the baby in the double jogger because the 4yo bailed and refused to get back in said requested stroller. Classic 4yo, I tell you.

Life with a 4yo is requesting to hear this song, not that one. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It is “Can I have a berry bar?” at 8:15 a.m. (every blessed day).

It is red-faced, foot-stomping “NO!”s (sometimes from Mama, too).

It is wide-eyed, mouth dropped open wonder at seeing Mama’s belly wiggle from the baby juking and jiving in there.

Life with a 4yo is taking the toy truck and trailer away from the almost 2yo one minute and then sharing it without being asked the next. Repeat forever.

It is ball throwing, furniture climbing, self launching from various surfaces, and “Tag! You’re it!” also forever.

Above all, life with a 4yo is never dull and rarely quiet. And as gray-hair-making as it can be, life with a 4yo is amazing. See, for example, leg/under the bump hugs on the first day of preschool. Also classic 4yo. img_7534

Little Lincoln?

To be perfectly honest, I did not have any thoughts, whatsoever, about who Baby No.5 resembled at our 20 week ultrasound. How can you really tell in those space-agey images if a kiddo looks like another kiddo or one of you two? I figured that arms up by the face (which pretty much all of our ultrasounds have looked like) was enough proof of being a Little Welschie and left it at that.

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And then I got a text from one of my dearest friends after she saw the image on FB that said, “That picture is SO Lincoln!” and when I went to look at it again, holy moly cow, I saw that she was SO right. Now I can’t see anything but Baby Lincoln’s little face and it is entertaining to think that our babe who did not resemble the others when born might end up with a little twin in November. In fact, I love it.

I mention all of this because I have actually been struggling a lot in the last couple weeks and the last time I remember being this constantly angry and discontent was the time April tried to do us in, the spring I was pregnant with – you got it – Lincoln. Do some of you remember the birth that month of Captain Cranky Pants? It’s a name I’ve come back to a time or four over the years, but I honestly don’t think it’s been quite so accurate of a connection until now. Because, whoa. Everything and everything is irritating the crap out of me these days.

The real culprit? Probably not a shocker, but my guess is sleep. The 4th of July put us behind and it’s not like I’ve ever really been ahead since, oh, mid-March, so I know I’m a very tired, fairly pregnant mama and I’m just not handling (any)things very well.

What occurred to me, beyond the CCP connection, relates back to something my OB said at my last appointment – the same one where that very image was captured by the ultrasound machine. We were talking about my going back to CO this month (sadly, I opted out because it was one thing I could take off my schedule, even if I didn’t want to, and the risk of another setback was just too much for me to take on, even if medically speaking, going wouldn’t have been an inherent risk for either myself or the baby) and I mentioned that I’m just so much more tired and worn down this time around, which led to her response of, “Yeah, you haven’t had an easy go of it with this one.”

Of course my immediate response was, “Oh, it hasn’t been that bad.” because tough as it’s been, I wouldn’t call this a bad pregnancy. But that’s not what she was calling it either. It’s not bad. But it certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing, and that’s where the still-behind-on-energy-and-appetite feeling, even at 21 weeks, comes into play.

The last time I heard her say something like that? Well, I tried to find it on the blog archives to verify and couldn’t, but I am pretty darn sure that she said something very similar during Linky’s pregnancy which was, yes, not easy. And then, as it did now, it took me a while for the reality to sink that if my obstetrician is pointing out the difficulty of my experience, perhaps it would be OK for me to acknowledge and accept that for what it is. And then, perhaps I could cut myself a wee bit of slack with the guilt over being a raging crank momster (error intended) and instead focus on doing what I can to get back to feeling good again.

Honestly, it might take some time. It might take 1,000 baby steps. It might take acknowledging and accepting that this too may just be a season in the tunnel that I have to ride out, because eventually this sweet Little Lincoln-clone is going to join us earth side and while I probably won’t sleep much in the immediate after (is it wrong if I start having daily convos with the bump promising favoritism if s/he comes out as our best sleeper ever? yeah? it is? darn.), someday I will again be rested and able to carve out a space for myself in our family of seven. And while I know that no human can be expected to never have some CCP flareups, I also know that eventually – whether it is tomorrow or next July – mine can be fewer and farther between, and far less cranky in general.

And in the meantime, I can be far less hard on myself for having (and seeing it as such) a hard time.

P.S. Just in case more evidence was needed…it was after Lincoln was born that I reached the point of starting therapy which lead to yoga and breakthroughs and all the work that I have spent the last four years doing to better take care of myself mentally, so again, no shocker here that his little buddy is putting those same tasks directly in my face again. And just as with Lincoln, I’ll be forever grateful for the nudge to do so.

 

He’s Golden!

I love Golden Birthdays. Do you celebrate them? Are you even familiar with them? I have no idea where my knowledge of them came, much less my fascination with them, although I’m guessing that the fact that I had to wait 26 years to celebrate my own may have had something to do with it.

Truth? Even though it was just nine short years ago, I can’t remember how I celebrated my own Golden Birthday. Isn’t that funny? All that hype and anticipation and now I don’t have a blessed clue what we did to mark the big day! But for my kiddos, well, that’s why I blog, now isn’t it? To mark time and serve as the memory keeper of this crew.

And so, today. Today, Lincoln is 4 on the 4th! And I don’t know if you can come up with a much more festive day on which to have a GB than the 4th of July, so we did our best to do it up in style (which included our typical Welschie anti-fireworks approach, just sayin’).

Now, in true Moore Family fashion, we’ve spread the birthday celebrations out over theimg_6647 course of a week or so (I loooooove that my family does this; it means that when my birthday comes, it doesn’t necessarily land on just one day). Last Friday it was a firecracker cookie from Eileen’s; this coming Friday it will be a play date/party with some of his buddies. But today was just the 6 (and counting) of us, hanging out and celebrating our awesome Lincoln Thomas.

img_6691We started the morning with donuts and Lincoln’s was, I kid you not, the size of his face and covered in frosting. Hence, candles! I totally grabbed four candles from the cupboard because this (along with some – ahem! – Golden Oreos later in the day) was it for official birthday confections, and I certainly didn’t hear anyone complaining (because his face was covered by a donut!).

The next official activity is actually an EVERY day ALL day event if Linky has any say in the matter, which is to say: baseball! The kid got his very first and very own (and unless Baby No.5 surprises us, will always be his very own) lefty ball glove and oh. my. goodness! He wants to play all the time. He’ll hit. He’ll pitch. He’ll zoom around the bases. He doesn’t care, as long as it is baseball!

In honor of the big day, we made our first trip of the summer to an actual field (instead of our yard or the neighbor’s yard) and the kids had a blast playing their typical Us vs. Daddy game. It was super fun to watch from my folding chair position of 3rd Base Coach (not that any of them listened to me because once they start running, they don’t stop!)!

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After we got home and hydrated (and had popsicles – oops – more treats!) we decorated the kids’ bikes and Trumy’s stroller for the annual YWCA Kiddie Parade and then hung out until it was time to actually go to said parade (to melt). We showed up just in time to get in line (and melt) to do a lap and a half through the Fisher Fountain parade route, and then it was time to hustle back home (to try to unmelt) for Trumy’s nap. By the way…can you tell that the mama is not handling the heat so well this summer??

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Normal Kindle time and then some water play and more backyard baseball with the neighbors followed, and we thought that was pretty much it until a storm rolled in (from the east – how weird is that?!) and all of the sudden all 6 of us (and counting) were outside playing in the beautiful, pouring rain. The kids ran and splashed and had SUCH a good time, and hey, I figure a shower from Mother Nature is just about as good as anything I can offer to wash off all the birthday treats and sweat from the day, so it really was a perfect ending to a lovely summer birthday celebration.

And now he’s four. For one whooooole year. And I love him, my sweet golden haired, golden smiled boy, more and more each day. img_6327

PPMS

So at the end of last week, afterI shared my previously written post, I thought things were actually on the ups. I mean, come the weekend, I survived our first Saturday Soccer Morning Shenanigans (we are coaching two kids on one team while a third kiddo is on a different team and naturally everything happened at the exact same time on far opposite sides of the field space for round one) AND Easter festivities on Sunday and was actually feeling OK. Not quite so much face-on-concrete, which is nice, you know? I was all Heck yeah, this B6 is working! 

But then the week came and I have been huffing and puffing my way through the nausea and back to waking up for hours on end during the mid-to-early-morning part of night and just Blergh. I’m not doing so great. Like any other human, I get cranky when I’m behind on sleep. When you add in the “nothing sounds good to eat and that I’m having a hard time swallowing water much less my little vitamin that’s supposed to keep me from urping” factor, I am not a terribly pleasant person these days. I never am in the first (and last, and maybe middle) part of pregnancy, and darn it – my oldest two are definitely old enough this time around for Pissy Pregnant Mommy* Syndrome to stick in their little memories.  *Note the use of my non-preferred mom name there, although I get called a little bit of everything by my children, including “ma’am” which is pretty funny. I’m using it here because I’d like to think this is my evil twin mom persona and therefore should not contain the actual word “mama” in it. Have I mentioned that pregnancy makes me both cranky and crazy?

So anyway. Interesting week around here. Back to more of the face-across-concrete to get through the daily routine, not to mention the finishing of a semester in adjunct world and the maintaining of a new business and a house and yeah. Don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful blessings. Even the extreme exhaustion and 24/7 icks in my tummy are good because I know every single day brings me closer to not only 14 Weeks when I’ll start to feel human again, but also to meeting this newest sweet peanut and while I obviously would give back the tireds and the tummy troubles, I wouldn’t actually trade this opportunity for anything in the world.

And, to be fair, not all has been lost this week. In fact, today, Lincoln and I had the sweetest darn moment when he was helping me clean the house (because I had to, people, NOT because this was anywhere on my actual list of wants or even priorities) and I thanked him, mid-load of carrying crap from one room to another, and he responded, “We’re a great team, Mommy!!!!” (see, he’s one who “mommy”s me a lot and therefore I don’t hate it, but you know a name’s a name, and I just like “mama” better), which melted my cranky heart right to puddles (and even, almost, made up for the massive fit he threw later in the day when we had to return an overdue library book that he very much wanted to keep forever and ever and always, apparently).

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Zero bits to do with the post, except that it’s a great shot of Lincoln showing off the bird feeder he made this week at preschool. Again, heart melted. 

So it will probably go for the next 5-30 weeks. We’ll have our moments of crankiness and we’ll have our moments of sweetness, and somehow we’ll get from one chore to the next and one week to the next and not all will be lost. Not even when I’m at my crankiest and my craziest, because we are in fact all a very good team.