Thursday, September 11, 2014


So yes. We had a baby. And he's so so cute. We adore him, one and all. 

But we've been doing other things as well. For instance, we moved. While we are grateful to be in the city, closer to all the many many things, we miss Midway. And I don't recommend moving at 7 months pregnant. You would think I would remember that from when we moved when I was 7 months pregnant with Max. Nope. Moving is terrible. We are grateful to be settled.

In other news, my kids started back to school at real, public, brick and mortar schools this fall. 
There are many reasons why we made the switch, but mostly it was because the girls wanted to, and we decided they should have some say in their schooling. Max and Ashlynn were accepted to a fantastic charter school, and Abby goes half-day to the middle school that's in walking distance and comes home at lunch so she still has time for practicing, homework, and having a life. They are busy and happy. I am spending much time dropping off, picking up, and negotiating homework with the 12 year old, 11 year old, and the 5 year old. Yesterday, I had to bribe Max with an m&m for every row of cursive practice he completed. (Cursive in kindergarten. Yes. I don't know that I get it either.) But we got through it in record time, so that's something.

But whoever said that public school is easier than homeschool must have been crazy, because the busy, runaround life we normally lead has multiplied exponentially. My color-coded google calendar and I have become best friends, and I'm trying my hardest to keep all the balls in the air. So far, I'm averaging about one epic meltdown a week, so that's better than it could be. And that's one epic meltdown for me, not to be confused with the epic 3-year old tantrums, or the semi-regular implosions from the 5, 11, or 12 year olds, for that matter.

And I might be certifiably crazy, because this week, Max had his first cello lesson, and I've started teaching Ian little daily violin lessons.

 So that makes four kids playing five instruments, (Ashlynn is playing flute in the 6th grade band...) three different music teachers, and lots and lots and lots of practicing. But the little boys love it, and due to being surrounded by it constantly, assume it's perfectly normal to practice itty-bitty violins and cellos every day.

What else? We blessed Charlie a few weeks ago, and by happy scheduling coincidence, both my sister and brother and their families were in town for the blessing. It was very fun to have everyone together, even only briefly.

And it's starting to look more and more like little Charlie may also be dealing with metopic craniosynostosis. For all those that say cranio isn't genetic, I don't believe you for a second. I started noticing Charlie's forehead ridge a few weeks ago, and kept telling myself I was crazy and blowing things out of proportion, but then my husband noticed it and I knew we were in for a ride.

We're currently watching and waiting, because although he's showing all the signs of metopic cranio- ridge down the forehead, a developing triangular forehead shape (trigonocephaly), pinching at his temples and close-set eyes, the suture still shows open on a CT scan. (As a side note, you know you're a mom of a cranio kid when they put your baby in the CT scanner and you're tempted to take a picture, because you know, baby's first CT scan...) No one can explain it, so we're currently watching and waiting. Things are changing with his headshape rapidly though, and not for the better.  In my gut, I'm pretty convinced we're headed for surgery with this little one too.

The "fortunate" thing about catching this early is that we have the option of a less invasive, endoscopic surgery if his metopic suture is indeed fused. The surgery would be shorter, less risky, and be followed by few months of helmet therapy to help his head retain its corrected shape. So we'll see if that's an option.  In the meantime, I'm trying not to think about it every hour of every day.

So while I'm frustrated and angry and all those other things about facing the hell that is craniosynostosis AGAIN, especially since it wasn't all that easy the first and second go rounds, I'm grateful that at least we know what it is, and we know how to treat it. We know who the doctors are and how to navigate Primary Children's Hospital, and that there is life after surgery. Doesn't mean I don't wish we'd never heard of craniosynostosis in the first place.

Friday, August 1, 2014

To Remember

This baby, this little Charlie of mine, is growing up right before my eyes. At 6 weeks old, he's already lost his newborn look, has outgrown all of his newborn and most of his 0-3 month clothes, and is dangerously close to needing size 2 diapers. While I am thrilled that he is growing healthy and strong, and we can't wait to see who he becomes, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't mourn each new milestone just a little bit. I love tiny babies, and already, my baby isn't tiny anymore. (In fact, he's probably pushing 12 lbs, if not more!) And please forgive me if you find this post overly sentimental- this blog has become a journal of sorts over the years, so even if no one reads this, I'll probably read it and cry in a year or two!

There are so many things I want to remember about my tiny Charlie. I want to remember his cute little chin quiver; it almost looks like he's chattering non-existent teeth. I don't know why he does it, but the first time I saw his chin quiver, I realized I recognized that movement because I had been feeling it in the womb!

I want to remember his cute little grunts, coos, and noises. I don't know that I've ever had such a vocal baby- I've been woken up in the middle of the night to hear him grunting in his sleep! My favorite are the little coos he makes sometime when he's sleeping and I'm holding him; he almost sounds like a purring kitten. And this morning he was sleeping in while I was getting ready, and he was giggling in his sleep. I nearly died of cuteness.

I want to always remember the feel of Charlie melting in my arms while I'm holding him. He is the cutest, cuddliest little squishy baby, and everyone who holds him comments on how he just melts into their arms. Frequently when I'm holding him, he pops upright to  look straight at me and studies the world around him with intense interest. I'm especially loving having him in the baby carrier, close to me. We get this chance a lot since he hates his carseat with the fire of 1,000 suns, and won't tolerate sitting in it even for a quick trip to the grocery store. I am becoming an expert at buckling him up in the carrier one handed, and he is an expert at falling asleep on my chest and gathering compliments from perfect strangers about how adorable he is. (Look at those rolls! And those cheeks! I want to eat him up, daily. In a non-weird, non-cannibalistic way, of course.)

I want to remember every funny facial expression, and especially his sweet open mouth miles that are coming more and more frequently. He has the best scowl that comes complete with a wrinkle on his nose. And the puckered up lips and blissed-out, milk-drunk expression when he finishes nursing is the best. And the baby smiles, first thing in the morning, at diaper changes, and at random in the middle of nursing sessions,  are the reward for everything, I tell you.

I want to remembers his baby soft, crazy curls when he gets out of the bath.They only last long enough for me to know that he's gonna end up with curls just like his brothers. And I'm sure that in a few years, we'll have a hard time remembering that Charlie's hair was ever dark, because we can already see a lot of blond poking through.

I want to remember nursing him, everywhere and anywhere. My poor fifth baby has done an excellent job of fitting into our existing chaos, but it also means that he gets carted around everywhere, and has been nursed in the movie theater, the swimming pool, the school lunch cafeteria, church, countless parking lots, outdoor concerts, McDonald's playland, and many a doctor or midwife appointments among other strange places. I can gauge how fast he's growing by how he fits in my arms while nursing. I can still support his whole body with one arm, but that ain't gonna last for long.

Dear sweet baby Charlie, can you just stay little, for just a bit longer? You are truly the best blessing that we didn't know we wanted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Baby Charlie, Part 2, the Birth Story

If you're just landing here, you may want to check out this post, which describes how we went from "Nope, we're not having any more kids," to being 40+ weeks pregnant with our fifth baby.

About 3 am Tuesday morning, I became aware that I was once again having contractions that were waking me up. I'd wake up long enough to be uncomfortable, time the contraction, and fall back asleep. After a little while of this, I realized this was different than all those other episodes of "false labor" for two reasons: contractions almost always slowed or even stopped when I laid down, and even those nights when I contracted most of the night, the contractions always stopped by 3:00 or 4:00 am. Just after 4:00 am, I was awake enough to text Morgan, who was about to board a plane back to New Hampshire with her five kids, telling her I was having strong contractions about 10 min apart. Her response? "I am so not surprised."

The contractions continued at 10 minutes apart for a while, keeping me wondering if anything was really happening. The contractions were certainly strong, required all my attention to get through, and felt different, aching deep in my pelvis, but I wasn't at all convinced they weren't going to quit on me like they had every time before. I was pacing my bedroom and would lean on the bed and rock my hips when the contractions came. By 5:30 am, though, I was having enough trouble coping with the contractions (and being quiet so I didn't wake anyone up!) that I woke up my husband.

I was grateful for the long breaks between the contractions, because as they quickly strengthened, I needed every minute of that rest to get through them without panicking. Tom started filling up the tub, which seemed a little optimistic to me, but when I hit my hands and knees on the rug in the bathroom, begging my husband to come hold my hand/press on my back/coach me through each contraction, I finally conceded that it might be time to call the midwives.

The sequence of events gets a bit blurry for me from here on out as the contractions increased in instensity and started coming much closer together. Tom tried to convince me to move from the rug in front of the bathtub to somewhere more comfortable and with more room, but I heartily refused. I liked the smaller space of the bathroom, and probably would have taken up residence in the closet if I would have thought people could get to me! Heidi arrived not long after we called, and started setting things up. Between the contractions, I kept thinking things like "This isn't real, they're going to stop." or "Why am I making so much noise with these contractions? Maybe I'm exaggerating this. It can't possibly hurt this bad when they're still so far apart and labor just started." Then as soon as another contraction started, it was all I could do to ride the waves.

I tried to vocalize what I was feeling and I don't think I was very coherent. I remember asking Heidi "these contractions aren't going to stop are they?" and starting to feel a bit panicked because everything felt so strong and powerful and painful and I was certain I still had hours to go. Soon, Laura, the second midwife arrived and she and Heidi and Tom all took turns providing counterpressure and encouragement.

Heidi and Laura kept telling me I was almost there, that this was transition and I'd be holding my baby soon, and my sarcastic inner voice kept arguing with them. "There's no way I'm almost done. Labor just started. I'm still not convinced that it isn't going to stop again. They have no idea what they're talking about." (It's funny to reflect on this now, because I felt the same way during Ashlynn's lightning quick birth, you'd think I'd remember what it feels like.) The midwives started to spread out chux pads and their equipment, and I still felt like everyone was being overly optimistic. I was trying to keep my sounds under control and labor gracefully and peacefully, but the low and loud vocalizations seemed to come of their own accord. Heidi encouraged me to "greet each contraction with relaxation," and I tried, I really did, but at that point I was holding on for dear life!

When my knees started to give out, everyone kept encouraging me to move to the tub, someone even suggesting "Let's have a waterbirth." I was a little panicky about changing positions and getting in the tub, worried that I wouldn't feel as secure or grounded in the water. They helped me move quickly in between the contractions, and I was grateful for the few seconds of relaxation the water brought before I was slammed by another contraction. It was about this point that I remember wondering (and maybe saying) why in the world I thought giving birth at home was such a smart idea, which got a good laugh from everyone.

At this point, I was pretty done. I was looking for a way to get out of this- to not finish. All I could think of was that I wanted to get out of my body. Of course the only thing I could vocalize was "This is wrong....I want out...." which led my poor midwife Laura to think I meant I wanted out of the tub, at which point she started trying to help me to get out of the tub. Finally I was able to sputter out "I just want. out. of my body," which caused everyone to laugh again.

It wasn't until, in the middle of one particularly nasty contraction, that I felt the tell-tale burning, stretching, stinging, baby-is-about-to-crown feeling that I actually truly believed that he was coming. And then I started to panic. Crowning is the scariest, most intense part of labor, and I wasn't looking forward to it. In the space between contractions, I looked at my husband and muttered, "You. Are. Getting. The. Procedure. I am NEVER doing this again." He was amused.

Two more burning, stretching, crowning, entire-body-splitting-apart contractions. Heidi encouraged me to reach down and feel his head, and I tried, but couldn't move my hand without feeling like I was losing all my stability. One more huge push and his head was out, followed quickly by the rest of his body. I opened my eyes, saw my baby and reached down to pull him up to my chest.

I cried, breathed a huge sigh of relief that I was done, and exclaimed "A baby! I had a baby!" to anyone that would listen. Everyone grabbed cameras, and I couldn't take my eyes off my sweet baby. He was quiet, breathing and pink, covered in vernix, with the thickest head of black curly hair that any of my kids had been born with. He was gorgeous and perfect and I was so blissfully happy to finally have him in my arms. Best moment ever.

My kids all came rushing in, thrilled to meet the newest member of the family. Ian immediately begged to hold him, before the cord was even cut! He was the first to climb up on the side of the tub and reach out for Charlie, and wouldn't leave his side for most of the day. Ashlynn called dibs on cutting his cord when we first told them we were pregnant, and once he was free, they bundled him up and passed him to Tom and four eager brothers and sisters. Some of my most treasured moments from Charlie's birth were watching my big kids interact with and love on their new baby sibling.

Charlie weighed in at a whopping 8lbs 7oz, and measured 20.5 inches long. He didn't love the newborn exam, but settled in to nurse quickly and proved to be a natural. My parents came almost as soon as Ashlynn called and announced "We have a baby," and after a quick look at her new baby brother, Abby ran out the door to catch her ride to violin institute.

One of the hardest parts of Charlie taking his own sweet time to make his way earthside was the conflict with violin camp, which we have been to every summer since Abby was 4 years old. This year, she had sent in a video audition to play at one of the lunchtime honor's recitals, and she was chosen to perform in front of the entire institute, a big deal. I didn't worry about her being assigned to Tuesday afternoon because I never imagined I wouldn't have a baby by then. But life goes on, and she kissed her baby brother, and went off to Institute to happily tell everyone that mom had just had a baby that morning. (I was there helping people register the day before!) Tom took all the kids and my parents to go hear her perform at the 1:00 recital, and I curled up in bed with my new baby Charlie. While I was heartbroken to miss her big performance, (I had basically taught her this piece from the beginning, we had worked on it for months, and she was playing it brilliantly,) I knew there was nothing I could do.  Tom tried to skype me in to see her perform, but it cut out just before she walked on stage. I knew the minute her performance was over though, because I got 4-5 texts from people in the audience telling me what a great job she did. The tears flowed freely as I looked at my newborn son and realized how blessed I was with all 5 of my amazing children.

Charlie has been such an amazing addition to our family, and the adjustment to having him here has been remarkably easy. He is by far the most mellow of the five, and is for the most part, remarkably easy. He's a great sleeper and has been from the beginning- I commented to Tom that it seems like his bad nights are the equivalent of my other kids' good nights. I have spent hours with him on my chest, cuddling him, memorizing every detail, and trying to absorb every moment since I know he truly is my last newborn. He is truly loved, (and fought over!) by his siblings, and I regularly have to fend Ian off and tell him that baby Charlie has had enough kisses. Within a few days, it seemed like he had always been a part of our family.

 First day at church. He was underwhelmed.
Amazing Midwives at 3 weeks old

I am so grateful for such a wonderful birth experience. While I wouldn't say it was easy, (is any birth ever easy?) it was by far the easiest and most satisfying of all 5. Straightforward, simple, fast, intense, powerful and wonderful. Within days I felt nearly back to normal, and by the time a week had passed I felt like nothing had happened. With each of my previous births, I look back and think "I should have..." or "If only..." and I feel nothing like that this time. With the exception of Morgan having to miss the birth by hours, I have no regrets, which is such an amazing feeling. It was a long hard pregnancy, but the baby at the end? Totally worth it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Baby Charlie, Part 1

It's been a little over nine months since I last posted on my little corner of the interwebs.

Incidentally, nine months is also just the right amount of time to conceive, grow, and birth what may be the world's cutest baby.
(Pardon the huge basket of laundry in the background, just keeping things real...)

For those keeping score at home, yes, we were done after 4 kids. Two older girls, two younger boys: perfect. I was knee deep in violin teaching, managing the two older girls and all their performing, rehearsing, schooling, etc. Add two busy little boys into the mix, and I really had about all I could handle. Or so I thought. I swore that if we were to have another child, it wasn't going to come through me.

About a year ago, I got a (completely shocking) positive pregnancy test. I admit it, I cried. And flipped out. And called a friend while I was pacing around the yard, and kept saying things like "There is no way in the world that this is ever going to be okay." Then I told my husband and we both cried.

It took a few weeks for me to decide that I was okay with the idea of another baby. And then, just like that, I miscarried. It was a strange place to be in. It took me a while to even decide how I felt about it. But, when all was said and done, we decided that yes, we did want another baby to join our family. It took a surprisingly short amount of time to get another one of these.

We were 100% convinced it was a girl. We had a name picked out from the beginning, referred to the baby as "she," bought baby girl clothes, and didn't even entertain the thought of it being a boy. Until we went for the routine 20 week ultrasound and the tech started writing "boy" on the screen, the possibility of having another boy never crossed our minds. I even accused the poor ultrasound technician of lying to us. Ashlynn, who was babysitting at the time and didn't see the ultrasound, was convinced the entire family was playing an elaborate joke on her when we told her she was having a baby brother. It wasn't until I showed her the ultrasound photos myself that she was convinced. It took some time for me to get used to the idea of three little boys in a row; there were many moments throughout the pregnancy where I would look at Max and Ian wrestling on the floor and wonder what in the world it was going to be like to add another to the mix.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it: it wasn't an easy pregnancy. In fact, miserable might be a better word. This was my eighth pregnancy, and by far the hardest. In other pregnancies, I would feel nauseous, or maybe dry heave. This pregnancy, I threw up nearly every day, sometimes multiple times a day, for nearly the entire pregnancy. At 38 weeks, I texted a friend to tell her I was full term and still puking in the sink every morming. Heartburn, no sleep, aches and pains? Oh yes. Present and accounted for.

As soon as we could wrap our minds around another pregnancy, we began planning a homebirth. While being in the hospital was the right decision for Ian's birth, both Tom and I much preferred the experience we had birthing Max at home. I went into it with a certain amount of nervousness: while Max and Ian's births were both wonderful experiences in their own way, the start and stop labors were hard both physically and emotionally, and I wanted to do anything I could to avoid a repeat of that experience. The only thing that I could come up with as a reason for the weird labor pattern was that with both the boys, I had interventions, however "natural," to try and get the labor going. So, I called my dear friend Heidi, who was my doula for both the boys and had since become a midwife, and dove into homebirth planning with both feet. I made all three midwives in the practice promise not to let me mess with anything as I came close to my due date, no matter how much I begged.

The hardest challenge of the pregnancy was the near constant contractions that started around 30 weeks. At 33 weeks we ended up in the hospital for pre-term labor, a scenario that was familiar from Ian's pregnancy, but the contractions were much more serious this time around. We were all but convinced that we were going to end up in the hospital with a preemie, but as it turned out, once they stopped my labor and sent me home, I was just in for weeks and weeks of miserable, painful contractions, that did nothing but exhaust me and make me grumpy.

My due date was June 12th, and I was super convinced that I wouldn't make it to my due date. All the pre-term contractions, plus the fact that Ian and Max were both born before their due date had me convinced that he would be an early June baby, if not born in late May. Every day that passed found me more discouraged. Every night I went to bed with contractions 3-5 minutes apart, and every morning I'd wake up miserable and still pregnant. As I checked concerts, recitals, and all of the normal end of school year items off my list, I became more tired, grumpy and anxious to meet my baby by the day.

My only consolation was that my dear friend Morgan was coming to Utah to be here for the birth, and would arrive two days before his due date. I fully anticipated that he would be born as soon as she got here; that HAD to be the only thing keeping my body from going into labor. But then my due date came and went and oh, how grumpy I was about it! I felt terrible for my poor supportive husband who had to live with pregnant me, and my kids, who at that point had learned to just stay out of my way! Each day that crawled by, I was more and more convinced that I was going to be the first woman ever pregnant forever, that my body was broken and had no idea how to really go into labor, and that I was going to be stuck facing a hospital induction at 42 weeks. It really was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting.

Several times I gave serious consideration to "natural" induction methods. At my last midwife appointment, I begged my midwives to strip my membranes, hoping to get labor going, and they refused. While I should have kept in mind all my determination at the beginning of the pregnancy to not mess with things, it didn't keep me from being irrationally angry with them. Friday afternoon, I even went and bought a bottle of castor oil and the ingredients for a castor oil smoothie, determined to serve the baby an eviction notice, then chickened out at the last minute. I wanted a good, smooth, low-intervention birth, and was too afraid that castor oil, along with tasting awful, would screw everything up.

Then came Monday, June 16th, 3 days past my due date. Morgan was flying home with her family early the next morning, and to say that we were both upset that she had been here a whole week and was going to miss the birth is an understatement. The only time I had been pregnant longer than this was with Abby, who was induced at 42 weeks. I said goodbye to my best friend and my doula and went to bed and cried. I'm not joking when I say that when I went to bed that night, I was more discouraged than ever.

(And this is already too long, so I'll stop here and continue in another post that hopefully won't take 9 months to write...)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Naps are wasted on the young...

My baby boy, Ian, is nearly 3. How this happens, I don't understand.

But it's hard to be a nearly three year old, you know?

He's in that awkward stage where he still needs a nap, but when he naps he stays up until the middle of the night. So sometimes, we try to do without a nap, but the whining, crying and the slobbery pile of toddler tantrum that inevitably results around 4pm when he doesn't nap makes all of us want to scratch our eyes out with plastic forks.

But sometimes, you just need a nap.
Sometimes you curl up on the couch with sister's blanket.

Sometimes (most of the time,) you fall asleep in the carseat.
Sometimes, church is too hard, so you fall asleep in the foyer.
And sometimes, it's even harder, so you fall dead asleep on your sisters' laps.
And sometimes, church is the hardest, and you fall asleep with your dad and a dish towel (who knows?) in the rocking chair.
  Sometimes, on a random Wednesday afternoon, you decide for reasons unknown, to fall asleep on the step of the garage, which makes your mom panic when she can't find you. Then, just as she's about to call the cops and your dad to report a missing kid, she nearly trips over you heading out to the garage.
 Sometimes, your macaroni and cheese doesn't cook fast enough, and you fall asleep mid-tantrum on the kitchen floor.
 Sometimes your naps make your parents so jealous they could spit.
 Sometimes, not even a stroller ride and a sucker will prevent an emergency nap.
And sometimes, you just need your brother to insure a good nap.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Juggling Act

I wrote this a few months ago, and never pushed "publish."  I revisited it today for some reason, probably because motherhood is kicking my trash this week and I needed the inspiration. 

I groan and roll over to silence the bleating alarm.  It’s 5:30 am. Between my anxiety-riddled dreams, soothing the two year old who was inexplicably awake three times during the night, and getting kicked repeatedly in the ribs by the four-year old who firmly believes Mommy and Daddy’s bed is his bed, I had closed my eyes for good about 4am.

Bleary eyed, I step in the shower, silently chanting my morning mantra: “Being tired never killed anyone. I will feel like a person if I can just make it to 10:00am. I will not die simply because it’s early morning.”
By 6:15 am, my household is reluctantly stirring, my makeup is hastily applied, and my first violin student of the day is beginning an E-flat major scale in the violin studio. I hit my knees in the dark living room, the shrieks of my boys’ first morning brawl echoing down the stairs.

“Dear Father,” I plead, “I’m not sure I have the energy to do this today. Please help me to be patient and kind to my children, even when I don’t want to be. Bless me with the energy and the stamina I need to get through this day.”


My second student of the day has just started tuning her violin when the studio door opens. My daughter, doubling as my babysitter this morning, is holding my four year old son by the hand.  “Mommy, my ear hurts,” he whimpers.

I excuse myself from the lesson, taking a brief look in my son’s ear to confirm yet another raging ear infection. I convince my poor, feverish son to take a syringe full of ibuprofen and hurry to place a call to the pediatrician. My sweet boy has never met an ear infection he didn’t have to have, and no run-of-the-mill course of antibiotics ever comes close to clearing the massive infections. The nurse gives me the last appointment of the day so I can still drive my daughter to her own violin lesson fifty miles away, then teach two more lessons in my studio, all before I have to leave for the appointment.

I choke back the bitter taste of guilt as I tuck a blanket around my little boy, turn on Phinneas and Ferb to help babysit, and head back to the violin studio, wondering how many more ear infections my son will get before the doctors start talking about a third set of ear tubes. While my student is perfecting her etude, my stomach is churning, knowing there’s no way we’ll be able to afford yet another surgery, especially now that we have no health insurance.


The guilt, the stretching and pulling in seventeen different directions, they are my constant companions. I could be a better mother if I didn’t have 22 violin students. I could be a better teacher if my students were the only thing I had to focus on. Days like this are a long walk across a tightrope strung over a pit of snarling lions: one slip-up, one late baby sitter, one dead van battery and it’s going to get ugly really fast.


There are other times too. The times when the teenager, who has struggled with crippling stage fright for years, has a brilliant recital performance and her smile lights up every corner of the recital hall.  The times where a young violinist and her mother beam with unexpected pride when they realize they’ve achieved something remarkably difficult. The moments when I giggle, witnessing my two sons wrestling like puppies on the living rooms floor. The day when my violinist daughter plays her Bach Partita so brilliantly and musically that it takes my breath away, leaving me in awe with tears in my eyes, despite the lunch debris spread all over the counter and the little brothers squabbling at a deafening volume.  Those are the times that remind me. This. This is what I’m supposed to do. This is where I belong. This is who I am.

So I’ll continue walking the tightrope, hitting my knees in the dark of the morning hours to plead for help, and ignoring the ever-present baskets of clean and dirty laundry.  I’ll mother, nurture, teach, guide, make music, chauffer kids to doctor appointments, rehearsals, and question my sanity daily.  I’ll giggle until my cheeks hurt with my kids around the dinner table, and I’ll stay up too late enjoying the only quiet moments in the day. And I’ll cry, and sing, teach, bandage scrapes, pray, and then hope against hope that it’s enough. For my students, for my children. For me. For God.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Is this thing on?

So this crazy insane life of mine doesn't leave much time for sitting at a computer. And while I honestly aim to blog more often than every four months, (oh my holy heavens!) sometimes you just gotta do a great big dump of photos, not even in any particular order and call yourself caught up.

So this summer that's nearly over? It has been, and forever will be forever after referred to as the summer of Swiss Miss.
These girls have performed everywhere. It turns out that preparing a singing and dancing program with 5 10-12 year olds takes a ton of time, energy, and general schlepping everywhere.
 We learned more about setting up, dismantling, and driving a float in parades than we ever thought there was to know. (Six parades down, one more to go!)
Their biggest event is yet to come when Swiss Days arrives in a few weeks.
It's a little bit like I have 4 extra daughters for the summer.
I never knew it would be so much work. Honestly. But I look at this and realize it's worth it. Every bit.

 Ashlynn even landed herself on the front page of the Sunday Newspaper after the Days of '47 Childrens' Parade.
We've had other adventures too. In May, Abby and I went on tour with Rocky Mountain Strings. It was three days of buses, performances, and amazing fun.
Ian wants to take after his sister.
And he got a haircut, which I fully admit to regretting immediately.
 Max's blonde locks, however, are as long and curly as ever.
June marked our yearly trip to violin institute.
Where Abby played violin approximately ten hours a day,
  And I had a solo on the tublular bells. (Don't ask. My life is weird.)
Ashlynn's 10th birthday was at the end of June. (How she is 10, I don't know. Someone will need to explain this to me at some point.) We had a giant party with 20 of her closest friends and a lot of water.
She asked for and received a bow and arrow set.
Which, as it turns out, she's really good at.
In July, we returned to Torrey for our annual Fourth of July Celebration. This time it included time with cousins, which was extra fun.
Abby gained quite a following when she played her violin on Main Street before the parade.
She earned enough money playing the violin this summer to buy herself her very own iPod. She's very proud.

We've played in the water, and I decided that little boys with swim trunks that don't stay up are my favorite.
And sometimes, we just stayed at home and ate popscicles, because what else do you do in the summertime?

  Oh. And this happened. Which shocked the pants off of me and my husband. Just as I had made up my mind that another baby wasn't going to completely ruin our lives, I miscarried. And miscarriages suck. I'll write more about this another time. 

So there you have it. The summer of Swiss Miss and all. It's hard to believe that summer is basically over and it's back to the school routine next week. We're holding on to our hats and getting ready for another year of homeschooling. And maybe a few deep breaths.

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