Thursday, May 14, 2015

Speedy Gonzalez

My kids can be really lazy. Sometimes I have to tell them ten times to pick up their dirty clothes/toys/garbage off the floor. They often don't listen to a thing I say because they're too busy messing around with each other. I tell them over and over to, "focus!" That's why I love to watch them compete on their track team. They don't always come in first place, but while they are racing they are focused. They are giving 100%. They are pushing themselves to do their very best. I am reassured to see that while they certainly know how to goof around, they can harness all that energy when they need to and do really great things. 

Building Character

I've always felt that organized sports teach much more than just basic ball fundamentals, but after watching Hank play soccer this season, I know he took away many more lessons about hard work, character, and perseverance than just passing and dribbling. This season was challenging--we encountered players whose commitment and passion for soccer ran much deeper than Hank's. For now, Hank seems happy to not take things too seriously and just wants to play and have fun...which is how it should be!

Finish Line

Considering at this point in the school year I feel like we're doing good to crawl through the finish line, I feel like we knocked Hank's class opera and Max's diarama out of the park.

Woman Up

I am not sure what I did wrong in some previous lifetime to have been punished by having the stomach flu, while caring for sick kids, all while Aaron is out of town. The worst luck ever. When I finally hit rock bottom, I called for reinforcements--enter saintly mother-in-law--and gathered enough strength to just 'woman-up' and tough it out. Believe it or not, I cope best by staying busy, so I took the kids to the farm, visited the museum, sprung for pizza and a movie, chauffeured to soccer games, and piled the kids in my bed at night...all while feeling like a slug. It's no wonder when Aaron returned home I got in bed and spent the better part of the following day (Mother's Day, as it turned out) doing a whole lot of nothing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I sure do enjoy being lavished with handmade gifts, treated to breakfast in bed and a day of relaxation, but sometimes it feels a little disingenuous to dedicate an entire day to the celebration of motherhood--a celebration of a sacred calling, a divine partnership, a holy and noble role. With every sacrament meeting speaker, every Sunday school lesson, and--shoot--every Hallmark card describing motherhood with a combination of reverence and awe, I'm left feeling like clearly I must not be doing it right because, whatever it is that I'm doing, most definitely does NOT feel holy and sacred. I wish I could say that motherhood was all holding hands and singing "Love At Home," but the kind of motherhood I know involves standing in a torrential downpour in the freezing cold to support a kid's soccer game, sanitizing a kitchen table that was puked on seconds after sitting down to eat dinner, burning a finger cooking paste for a kindergarten paper mâché diarama project, rocking a baby to sleep who badly needed a nap but wouldn't give in, and sharing the bed with a toddler who was too scared by the thunder to sleep in his own bed (all actual, ordinary, excerpts from Mother's Day weekend). How is that for sacred and holy?! Although my day to day feels more down and dirty than holy, in a single day, I became my childrens' cheerleader, nurse, educator, nurturer, and protector....and I guess that means that even from my position deep in the trenches, the work that I do--the nitty gritty--matters! And so on Mother's Day I am celebrating real motherhood--a job that can often be very tedious and test me to the point of breaking, while at the same time fill me with a complete sense of purpose, contentment, and infinite room for personal growth.

Some of my Mother's Day "treasures":

Every Mother's Day brings a deeper sense of gratitude and respect for the mothers in my life--my mom-friends who lock arms with me along the path of motherhood, my dear mother-in-law who serves and supports our family in countless ways, and my own mother whose friendship I'm certain began before this earth. I'm blessed to know such strong women who are examples to me of patience, compassion, and selflessness.

I love these boys of mine and I'm humbled with the responsibility entrusted to me in raising them. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Captain Underpants!

You know how some golfers will boast about hitting a hole in one, but don't have any proof? That's how I feel with Joey: I wouldn't believe that he potty trained himself in only one day if I didn't see it for myself. In my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined an easier potty training process. I was gearing up to potty train at the end of the month when school is over, but Joey decided he was ready...and just did it! At the end of Day 1 he was going in the potty without any reminder, holding it while we ran errands and during nap time, and staying dry without a SINGLE accident! I know it's an awkward accomplishment to celebrate, but I am so proud of him! 

Mama Bear

I'm normally a very non-confrontational person, but I've discovered that I have an inner Dr. Jekyl lurking inside that rears itself when someone messes with my kids, particularly this kid. There isn't a mountain too big that I wouldn't climb or an ocean too deep that I wouldn't swim to get Ben the services/treatment/support that he needs. This week we had several encounters with administrators, educators, and doctors standing between Ben and the support he needs...all I can say is they have no idea who they are messing with.

My Babe

Some of my favorite things about Rocky right now:

- Rocky greets me with a little trill that sounds like, "ah-AHH!"
- He loves to be outside and cries if he gets left behind while brothers go out to play.
- He says, "hello, Mama," "eye oh u, Mama" so sweetly.
- He likes to help unload the dishwasher and load the washing machine.
- He not so helpfully takes off his shoes and socks anytime he is in the car.
- He "gives kisses" by tipping his forehead down so that I can kiss him.

We Did This To Ourselves

Stupidly, we signed Hank and Max up for three sports concurrently: soccer, track, and machine pitch baseball. I have no idea how we thought we could juggle all three....and keep our sanity. Some nights we pack sandwiches and change of uniforms and hop from one field to another for a dual-sport double header. And you know what really blows my mind? We haven't even begun sports with the little guys! 

Hank and Max are loving being baseball teammates (at least we consolidated schedules by combining them on the same team). They are improving so much this season. It's nerve-wracking watching them step up to the plate, but they've got the knack and can crack the ball pretty good.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Crazy Driver

Makes me smile to see these two behind the wheel, riding up and down our street.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Dinner time is a battle to threaten/bribe the boys to eat a few measly fruits and vegetables. I feel so sneaky and successful then when I manage to stuff my blender with all sorts of fruits and vegetables (in this case bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, spinach, and almond milk) and purée it into a smoothie and the boys fight for seconds!

But don't worry, I make sure to keep our diets well-rounded with plenty of not-so-healthy treats. Today Max came home from kindergarten upset and I handed him a spoon and a gallon of ice cream. It seemed to do the trick--he went from scowling to smiling in two seconds.

Morning Snuggles

Most mornings I wake up to this little boy standing beside my bed and a) asking me to Phillip (that's what it sounds like when he says "fill up") his sippy cup; b) help him with his Lego project of the moment; or c) report on a brother's misbehavior. To buy myself a little more time before responding to his requests, I put him in bed with me to snuggle and snap selfies:

Tulip Festival

The tulip festival was just magical. A feast for the eyes. I need to go back two or three more times just to take it all in. 

We splurged and, much to the boys' delight, rented a golf cart to tour the gardens. 

We picked a spectacular day to visit the gardens and even brought a picnic dinner.

Of the five, Rocky was the only one who cooperated with my quickie photo shoots, pausing for a minute in the flower displays to say, "cheese!"

Unfortunately, not everyone enjoyed the gardens as much as I did. This was Ben's expression 99% of the time (just imagine a tape recorder set to play, "mom, mom, mom. I want to go home" on repeat two million times and you'll understand Ben's attitude that night):

We searched the gardens to find and claim "our spot" and plan to return regularly during the summer for picnics and to enjoy the scenery.