Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Birthday Baby

It doesn't seem possible. A year ago in a hospital room during a blinding snowstorm, we met Ian for the first time.

Now, he's a walking, talking, tornado of a toddler who's celebrating his first birthday today.

He's brought a sense of completeness and balance to our family. When we met him for the first time, it wasn't so much a "I'm so glad to meet you!" as it was "Oh, I'm so glad you're here. We've been waiting for you!"
He's adored by his sisters, and tolerated by Max, who gets annoyed when Ian follows him around wanting to do everything he does.

His favorite foods are undoubtedly breastmilk, bananas, pretzels, and anything sweet he can con someone into giving him. He loves wrestling and will often try to tackle Max just to instigate a wrestling match. He's a Mommy's boy through and through, at least for now.

He has the most adorable dimples and a smile that melts me. Every single time.
He doesn't sleep much at night. But we're working on that. He has the world's loudest shriek and we wish there was a way to work on that.
He folds his arms whenever we say a prayer, and waves his arms like a conductor anytime he hears music. He also tries to sing along, which never fails to make everyone around him smile.
He doesn't realize he's supposed to be the baby. He started walking when he was just barely 9 months, and said his first words shortly after. He hates his high chair, and almost always refuses to drink out of a sippy cup in favor of whatever we're drinking instead. 

He wasn't at all planned. It took me a long time to get used to the idea that he was coming. But now, sweet Ian, we don't know what we would do without you. So fun that we get to do your party during Thanksgiving tomorrow. So fitting. Happy Birthday Little Buddy! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

When the going gets tough, the tough write poetry

I've been trying to nightwean the baby. The thinking is, he's almost a year old and should be able to last the night without nursing 47 times. I tend to be a bit less than pleasant when I've been woken up multiple times all night long for a year solid. But since I'm not a cry-it-out mom, I've been trying for something more gentle. I think it will work eventually, but let's just say I didn't know it was possible to be more tired than I already was.

We commenced our adventures in homeschooling this morning with poetry. Abby and Ashlynn were supposed to be reading and then writing their own poetry. So they started reading their poems, outloud. Each trying to out do the other when it came to loudness. It was then that I declared that they were to read all poems to themselves. Then the writing commenced. They were grouchy, I was grouchy and sleep deprived. I was wondering if I could send them to public school just for a day or two.  So then, I texted a friend, complaining, venting. Bless her, she wrote me back in rhyme. And so for most of the rest of the day, our messages were in couplet form. Credits to Morgan in red.

Grammar, poetry, sentences, you stink.
Working on English is a waste of ink.

My sister, my brothers, they're driving me crazy.
I wish I could just watch TV and be lazy.

Haiku isn't hard.
Sometimes it doesn't make sense.

Pulling out wipes is lots of fun.
This making of messes is never done.

Speaking in rhymes is ever so amusing.
Except for my girls, it is confusing.

Tell them it's easy and really a gas!
They just have to focus, they'll get it, en masse!

Now the time has come for me to shower.
When I am done, I shall smell like a flower.

Showers lovely.
They keep me from being fugly.
(I think this one was my favorite of the whole day!)

The word "fugly" gets you extra credit.
I laughed really hard when I read it.

Ian and Max are both super snotty.
They wipe boogers on me so I can feel like a hottie.

Why must they always wipe it on Mom?
A tiny little booger bomb?
(I never said it was going to be uplifting poetry!)

And then we switched to limmericks:

There once was a mom who was tired,
Because all her kids were so wired.
She tied them up tight,
And turned out the light,
And said "If you don't go to sleep, you're all fired."

Lest you think that today was all about bad texted poetry, we did actually something. This is Ashlynn's masterpiece of the poetry unit so far, written while studying Shel Silverstein and hyperbole.

Isn't she cute? She had a piano recital tonight and was amazing! Musical and a writer! I'll keep this one...

Stinky Boy
by Ashlynn Smith

There once was a boy who would not take a bath.
He hated using soap as much as doing math.

He smelled like stinky fries and rotten eggs.
He had beetles crawling up and down his legs.

He never changed his clothes and it made his skin turn black.
He nearly gave his mom a great big heart attack.

But one stormy day he got caught out in the rain.
It washed the boy all clean, and he didn't even complain.

So there you have it. Stacy, Morgan, and Ashlynn. Poet Laureates. We're excited about our upcoming book tour. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You've had a birthday

Yesterday, Max, our tiny baby turned three. How this is possible, I don't know.

Max is our miracle baby.  His birth was a result of years of longing, praying, and planning, and I still look back on those wonder-filled moments and days after his birth with fondness and love. Max has gone through more trials and surgeries and sheer crap than most people do in their lifetime, and you'd never know it to look at him.

So here, in no particular order, are Max facts.

Age: 3 (Although he still says 2!)

Hair: Blond, curly and crazy.

Favorite Toy: Without question, his Woody doll from "Toy Story." We've had this particular doll since the original "Toy Story" came out, but Max has loved it the best. He carries it with him everywhere, sleeps with it, and wo be unto us if we can't find him come bedtime. A few days ago, Max had hidden Woody away in one of the girls' purses causing much chaos, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth when bedtime came around and we couldn't find him. He even woke up at 2 am crying "Woody! I need my Woody! Find my Woody, please!" We may need to buy another one, just to have on standby.

Favorite Article of Clothing: A ratty worn red cowboy hat. He found it at a neighbor's house when he went over to play, and wouldn't give it back. We ended up buying a replacement hat for the neighbor boy. And other than that, see above. Except we won't let him sleep with it on or wear it to church. Mean parents, we are.

Favorite Food: Broccoli. Peas. Carrots. All things vegetables. He's the only kid I've ever known that will not only eat his vegetables first, but usually will ignore everything else on his plate in favor of the green things. Not that he hasn't been known to climb on up the counter and sneak a while bunch of cookies at once.

Favorite Movie: It's a tie between "Toy Story" (1,2,or 3, he's not picky) and "Tangled." He can recite entire scenes of "Tangled" at will, which just proves that he belongs to me and will fit right in when it comes to spewing obscure movie lines at dinner.

Likes: Basketball, football, baseball, anything that involves a ball. Playing outside, shadowing his sisters, dancing and singing at music class, Elmo, Sesame Street, playing xbox, jumping on Daddy, (and Mom if Dad isn't around,) and all things iPhone.

Dislikes: Baby brother getting in his space, bedtime, hair brushing, teeth brushing, other people actually having the nerve to take "Max's phone!"

Not at All Interested In: Potty Training. I asked him today when he was going to use the potty. His answer: "Not today. Birthday." When I reminded him he just had a birthday, he replied, "No go potty Mama." Sigh.

Sweet Max. There isn't a day that goes by where he doesn't make us laugh and have us counting our blessings that he's ours. Happy Birthday, Buddy. And for the love, will you stop growing up so fast already?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Balance, or the lack thereof

This mom thing, it's kicking my butt.

You know, there are some moments where I feel like I have everything under control. Like my girls might actually be learning things and my toddlers might survive another week without major bloodshed.

But they are mere moments. Blips on the screen.

Lately it seems like those moments, the good ones where I actually feel like a competent human being, are ever so quickly usurped by crying children. Or bleeding children. Or children with fevers, babies who shriek loudly for no apparent reason, children who stomp their feet and throw giant tantrums because they don't want to pratice their musical instrument, or children who don't belong to me but who need me to teach them a violin lesson.

I feel most days as if I'm walking a tightrope, balancing all the different parts and pieces of me, all the people who depend on me or expect things from me, and all my duties and responsibilities.

I wonder, most days, if it is really possible to balance everything. To give every part of my life, every person who is important to me, and every responsibility that is mine equal and appropriate amounts of love and TLC.  I don't think it is. Or I at least hope it isn't, because if it is, I'm failing miserably.

It just seems that if we're having a wonderful school day with my girls, that my house will inevitably look like a bomb exploded. If I'm paying bills and answering emails and trying to do all those adult things that keep my household functioning and running, babies will cry, or siblings will argue or the phone will ring or the dinner will burn, or someone (or multiple someones) will be crying. And some days, if I attempt to do anything at all, the baby will shriek his ear piercing shriek at the top of his lungs for no reason, and I will have no choice but to hold him, and nurse him, and chase him around the house chanting "Run, run, run, I'm going to get you!" just to get him to laugh and stop screaming for one blessed minute.

I am well aware that I chose this. All of it. The violin teaching, the homeschooling, the parenting. I am working towards loving my choice.

But damn if it isn't hard. When the baby cuts his finger, is bleeding everywhere and we can't decide if he need stitches or not, when the kids are all yelling at each other and I've been teaching all day and am exhausted because of the boys waking up at an unholy hour due to the *&%$ time change, when the two year old throws a toy and breaks a plate, and Dad is leaving on church business while 3 out of 4 kids are crying, it's hard not to throw in the towel and run away screaming.

So I'm going to bed, friends. And I'm going to try again tomorrow. For balance, for serenity, for less yelling, more laughing, less chaos and more sleep.
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