October 3, 2017

The Creepy Underwear

When the boys were little, I used to tell you all about books they loved, and gave a lot of them away. But times have changed. I'll admit that I don't read to my girls as much as I did my boys, and I'm sure they'll hold that against me for years to come. I've made my peace with it.

Bennett and Hattie were home sick today, and we pulled out a book that we got from the school book fair called Creepy Pair of Underwear. Weird, right? Not a book title I'd normally choose and purchase. But we own Creepy Carrots and love it, so we had a good feeling about it.

The book follows Jasper Rabbit on his quest to rid himself of his creepy underwear, and is a good combination of little-kid-spooky and silly.

Anyway, reading it reminded me of the photos I took of Jack and Ben with books when they were around Hattie's age, so I decided to recreate it. Looking at those posts makes me long for a porch with enough room for pumpkins!

May 11, 2017

Claire's Last Day of Preschool

It's an overcast morning here, but when I dropped Claire off at preschool for the last time this morning, I had my sunglasses ready to go. I've had all the feels this week as we approach Claire's preschool graduation. It's hitting me hard.

I don't know why . . . I've been through this twice before. Someone suggested that it might be because it's my first girl graduating from preschool, and I wanted to punch that person in the face. Sorry - but only kind of sorry -  if it was you. I'm just about done with being polite when people imply that my girls will be my best friends forever while my boys will someday leave me and never give me a second thought. But that's an entirely different post.

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I won't be sending her to Kindergarten while I still have a toddler and a newborn at home. Even when I was emotional about sending the boys to school, I welcomed one less person needing my attention all day. I think my emotions this week are actually the result of three preschool graduations. I don't think I ever really had the time or emotional space when the boys graduated to feel it all. The last 6 years are catching up with me, I suppose.

Claire's Last Day of Preschool - May 2017
 I also know what comes next. I know that she'll be gone 7 hours a day. I know that we'll have tired, grumpy afternoons 4 out of 5 school days. I know that she'll pick up mysterious phrases and attitudes that she never would have picked up from 2.5 hours of preschool, or here at home. I know that the attachment we have will be a little less. I know that soon she'll stop holding my hand. I know that she will make friends whose parents I don't know. I know that our crazy summer schedule will end about two days before she goes back to school, leaving little time for family vacations. I know that it's harder to miss a day of school once you reach the elementary age. I didn't know all of this when Jack graduated from preschool, and I only knew a little bit of it when Bennett did.

Bennett's Last Day of Preschool - May 2015

Jack's Last Day of Preschool - May 2012
For the next 3 years it'll just be me and Hattie. She'll go to preschool two mornings a week next year, and will probably have a babysitter a couple of days. I'll have to stay up fewer late nights getting my jobs done, because I'll have more available time during the day. So those are all good things.

Hattie will get way more attention during these years than any of her siblings, because there will be no one else fighting for it. That's a good thing, but it leaves me feeling incredibly guilty for not being able to give that to the others. They've all been more than ready for Kindergarten when they graduated from preschool, but I'm still left wondering if I've done enough while I've had them at home.

No more babies at our house.
All week I've been thinking about how I'll never have regular afternoons with Claire again. When I was home, it was just her and I while Hattie napped. I'm feeling all the guilt about the times I sat her in front of the tv so I could be productive. I'm feeling so sad that we won't get to take advantage of empty open skating afternoons anymore or just lay in bed and giggle about the crazy stories she makes up. And let me tell you: She makes up some doozies. At parent-teacher conferences, we were presented with a list of stories she told to her teachers. . . were you aware that I knit her clothes for her before she goes to school each morning? And that her dad found our dog that we thought had died up in the attic of our house? I could go on . . . but I won't.

I remember when Jack was born, having this overwhelming feeling of "How on earth will I be able to give him everything that he deserves?" I don't think that feeling will ever really go away. Sometimes I joke about it, but I really don't want my kids to stop growing or to slow down. So today, I'm going to try and push some of my own sadness aside and be thankful for healthy, thriving kids, doing what they're meant to do: Grow.

My phone just buzzed, reminding me that it's almost time to go sit in that pick up line and wait to see my sweet Claire skip hand-in-hand with her teacher one last time. She's growing up. They all are. Thank you, Jesus.

April 21, 2017

Lukes are Best Friends

I'm almost sure that at my funeral someday, this is the memory that my kids will laugh about: "Remember how after we fought, Mom used to make us say, 'I love you' and 'Lukes are best friends'?" 

I'm okay with that.

I make no secret of the fact that one of my main parenting goals is to keep them close . . . perhaps to a fault. I make sure they know that even when they're married and have kids of their own, they need to touch base with their siblings . . . all of them . . . at least once a week.

They might not have chosen each other, but they'll always be the friends who have known them the longest. I want them to confide in each other. I don't even care if they help each other keep secrets from us (kind of). When one of my kids tattles on another, I often say, "Remember . . . you're all on the same team."

Maybe they'll all grow apart and lose touch when they get older. But it won't go down without a fight from their Mama.

March 3, 2017

On Losing My Mind

I've been sitting in my office for 30 minutes now, just staring. Staring at the computer screen, staring out the window, staring at the blank walls. Every couple of minutes, I'll stop staring long enough to pick one of the split ends from my hair and then I go back to staring.

I've completely lost my mind.

I'm just getting over the worst flu I've ever had. I think it was the flu. At the very least, it was a flu-like virus. The aches were unreal. And you know how when you get sick, you feel yourself hit rock bottom and then start to feel a little better each day after that?  Well, with this flu I hit rock bottom and stayed there for a while. And then after five days of pure misery, I got a tiny bit better each day. I had 11 total days of fever. I alternated tylenol and ibuprofen, but this flu just kind of laughed at my attempt to keep the symptoms at bay and kept doing its thing.

This was with ibuprofen and tylenol. I learned very quickly not to let it run out.
The worst part of the whole thing is that Kyle had it, too. As did 3 of the 4 kids . . . Claire was the only one spared (but she ended up with strep toward the end of the whole ordeal). I'd like to think that I had it worse than Kyle because he was the one who managed to keep the house running, but the truth is that he's just a better parent than I am.

She spent a lot of time at doctor's visits with us.
The remnants of the flu are almost out of my system. Today was the last day of antibiotics for the secondary sinus infection that developed (I couldn't eat because my teeth hurt so bad) and I still have a little bit of a cough left. But I cannot figure out how to get my motivation back.

Laugh all you want. It's the only attachment we had for the nebeulizer. It got the job done.
I'm a very motivated person and can juggle quite a bit at once, but I lost that somewhere in the last two weeks. I can't prioritize everything on my to do list. I just can't think.  Is it just a fog left from the flu? Or is it a fog from being 38 years old? Kyle's theory is that it's a fog from pushing myself too hard for the last few years . . . and this was my breaking point.

Catching up on homework.
Whatever it is, it needs to move on. I've got things to do.