Thursday, January 28, 2016

Don't Believe The Lie....The Best Kid Years Are Ahead

I'm not shy at all about saying the baby years are not my favorite.

The whole tiny people thing has it's moments of deeply painful sweetness, of course.

(Notice I used the word painful about the sweetness.)

Their need for me as "The Mom" can bring me to tears with joy, love, and exhaustion.

There are a lot of different tears during the under three life.

People will constantly tell me I'm going to miss their baby years.  I need to savor each sweet smell of their baby hair nestled against my chest.  I should take a deep breath and just enjoy their dependency and forget myself.

Sometimes I do. It's very difficult to do that all the time though.

It's also not realistic.

At all.

It is tough to argue that this is anything other than perfection.

I mean...he is a joy.

You know what else is a joy?



(This is how Aiden dresses every day.  He's the coolest kid in the fourth grade.  He smokes pot and plays the guitar.  It's really fun to hang out with him.)

(I'm kidding about the guitar playing.)

(Fine, I'm kidding about all of that.  Except, that is Aiden.  Dressed for a school performance.)

To me, this parenting thing just keeps getting better and better.

Why must I constantly be told to savor only the very little?

I'm here to tell you parents of the babies and toddlers, it's worth doing the hard now, because they become people that you are crazy about and bring you even more joy and delight.

AND they can make their own sandwiches and let you sleep, basically whenever you want to sleep.


I am bananas for all my children, but Aiden has me right now.

He is so interested in everything.  He's asking so many questions.  Not the constant string of "why" that showed up as a toddler.  He's asking the BIG questions and he's caring about the answers.

Sure, he is a total punk sometimes.  He's too aggressive with his middle siblings and teases his sister and almost never remembers to hang up his towel after his shower, and brings home things like science fair which are annoying, but he has so much good going on right now that I can overlook those things.

Not too long ago he came and sat on the couch while I was playing with Max and asked if I could answer some social questions for him.

He comes to me for social questions because he knows how cool I am.

I assume.

Or because I'm here.

He apparently has a few boys that hang close to him that are a little "different," and Aiden is kind to them even though they are a little "different."  He feels badly about it though because sometimes his other friends think he's weird for being nice to them.

If you could have seen his eyes, his poor little heart so stressed and confused about how this works.

How does he keep his friends and be kind to the kids that think they are really good friends with him, but are a little "off?"

I, of course, said all the perfect things.

Or fumbled through a kindness no matter what, but you don't have to be everyone's best friend type discussion and then showed him my new sweatshirt, which solidified our entire conversation.

(Cutest tees and sweatshirts for parents and kids....Mama Said Tees. Go buy one or seven NOW!)

He has the best heart.

He has even better hair.

He works hard for that hair.

He worries about doing the right thing.

Perhaps too much.

My father took him to Subway on a sick day recently and he wouldn't get out of the car until he felt he had something appropriate to explain to people about why he was there during a school day.

Because you know the people at Subway are worried about truancy.

He worries about people at school's science fair project having been done by their parents...because he wants them to learn themselves. There isn't any concern about their project being better because it was done by an adult, just worry that there is no way those kids will be able to function in high school or college.

Perhaps he has been listening the last few years?

He reads to Max, gets him out of his crib when he's crying, feeds him a bottle, plays with him, and genuinely wants him to walk and talk.  He helps and he cares about helping.

He asks about tampons and listens seriously to the explanation...and then feels empathy about how annoying that must be.

Amen Aiden, amen!

He is baffled by some of his friend's new interest in girls.  He has had many discussions with me about that, mostly that he isn't ever going to do that.

Fine by me, just get your own place and then come hang out with ME!

He sits in the front seat next to me when we go places and just talks and it's glorious.

He tells me about the books he is reading, books that I like to read too!  He has thoughts and opinions about the stories!  He's a bonafide reader.  This makes my heart sing.

He actually CHOSE to go on a walk with Max and me recently rather than go to a friend's house.

Then wanted to take a selfie with us, because that's just the type of example I am setting of proper behavior.

(Max is not normally this suspicious of Aiden, I think he is jealous of Aiden's hair though and it was just right in front of him in this picture.  It's tough sometimes.)

Aiden wants to know why people think Tractor, Uncle Kyle and I are funny.

I had to explain that Tractor and Uncle Kyle are strange, which is funny sometimes, and I'm just confused and lucky that what comes out of my mouth makes sense.

He wants to be funny.  He wants to make people laugh.  He does.

He still gets in trouble and throws little fits about consequences....but then he does the most amazing thing. He talks and understands and reflects and sucks it up and deals with it.

I can not tell you how totally gratifying it is to see your kids suck it up and accept that they screwed up and earned the consequence they got.

I could go on and on.

Unfortunately, I feel like my posts about Aiden are numbered.  His stories are increasingly less and less mine to share.

The fact that he talks so frankly and openly with me is so fiercely treasured by me that I couldn't even describe most of the details of our discussions lately that leave me beaming with pride and gratitude for the gift of being his Mom.

I can't betray him.

Unless we are having a cocktail in person and then I'll spill because I'm mostly horrible at keeping secrets that I find joyful and worth sharing.

I just won't write them on my public blog.

I have standards.

(I also feel it's important for me to note quickly that Cole is moving right along too, but just isn't quite to Aiden's level of maturity about so many things.

For example...I still have to carry a wooden spoon in my purse and recently had to literally chase Cole down the street while holding my wooden spoon out the window and threatening him to get in the minivan and come to piano lessons while he sobbed.

There were neighbors watching.

It wasn't our best moment.

We did make it to piano.


TEN's getting better and better.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Justin Bieber Should Sing A Mojo Song For Me

While getting my eyelashes done yesterday, my sweet lash lady, Christina, asked me how my organization goals were progressing.

I assume she had taken a look around the house and was sort of scared.

Surely she was thinking I had possibly just given up on my goals.

Or my entire existence.

Except for my eyelashes of course.


It looks worse than it is.

Actually, it's worse than it looks.

There is shit EVERYWHERE is my house right now. I'm still on page 46 of that Magic of Tidying Up book and I can't even remember where I put it.  I remember I'm supposed to pull everything out and we are firmly stuck on that task.

But without any direction toward sorting or removing.

Or trying.

Or anything to help me just pick up.


You know what we're doing?


I've lost my New Year mojo.

There was the science fair and the cub scouting and the "about me" project and dance and gymnastics and piano and all the exploring baby-ness.

I have taken exactly ZERO walks since bragging about a whopping two in seven days....over two weeks ago.

Even Max couldn't remember how we had decided to only be amazing at the grocery store and lost it multiple times at HEB yesterday.

Here he is screaming because he had already wiped all the chai tea foam out of my cup and licked it and smeared it everywhere.  I had literally chugged my hot drink and thrown the "mostly" empty cup at him in hopes that he would find it so joyful and entertaining that he would be happy forever.

It didn't work.

He's congested and annoyed at me on a regular basis the last few days.

I don't think he's telling anyone I'm dead yet, but he's clearly just not that in to me right now.

The good news is that I've started eating Girl Scout cookies immediately after I eat breakfast.

What the hell is happening?

The genuine good news is that we are having our closets "done" tomorrow.  All three kids' rooms will have fancy shelving and pull-out basket drawers and appropriately spaced everything so we can put all the stuff I've pulled out, back in to a spot.

Everything will have a spot.

For one to three weeks.

At least.

I hope.

I haven't totally lost my New Year mojo though because I'm still writing.  Twice a week, only during the morning nap, and I am publishing what happens during that time without edits.

Can you tell?

So maybe we are just surviving this week, and I'm not walking or organizing anything, but at least I'm writing about it.  Right?

It's almost a new month and that's almost like a new year so I'm just going to assume I'll resume my organizing and walking vigor next week.

Assume with me.  Next week I will be AMAZING again.

P.S.  I can't stop playing that Justin Bieber song, "Love Yourself."

P.P.S. I have a sudden, very deep love for the Biebs. I know he is a bit young, was violent (egg throwing?) and unclothed for a bit, but dammit if he isn't cute and talented.  His songs are catchy and I just think he could change my whole world.  He could give me my mojo back.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Daughter's Love

Mother and daughter relationships are complicated.

I realize this is something that many, many women struggle with from the daughter and mother side of things. There are a lot of emotions, love, wanting things for them, resenting them, the list goes on and on.

I remember writing an VERY heated entry in to my fourth grade diary about my hatred for my Mother.

I have since come around though.

Since Stella is five though, I really don't consider things complicated. Our biggest issue is that she isn't a fan of brushing her hair and I am a fan of her not looking like a homeless child.

I also loathe the way she dresses. She puts together the most random clothing and not in a quirky, fun way. It looks awful.

But...whatever.  I don't have the energy to fight her clothing choices each day and surely this sense of self will make her an amazing woman some day.  Or a really lonely lady with lots of cats.

Not my problem.  She and I are fine.

Or so I thought.

During one of my recent cleaning binges I found my wedding album under Stella's bed.

I immediately assumed she had taken it to stare at how beautiful I looked in a fancy dress with my hair brushed.  She probably thought I was a princess that day.

Then I opened the album to find this.

Now, upon first glance, it looked to me that she had put an X over Alex and my faces.

Surely this was done in a fit of rage over some consequence she was enduring due to our amazing parenting skills.

It's a solid sign of good parenting to have your children hate you from time to time.

It was obvious to me that Stella was the one who had done this given the location of the wedding album, and well, this....

But I took a moment and sat her down and asked her if she knew anything about marking on Daddy and Mommy's faces in our wedding album.  She, of course, was shocked to learn that this had happened! She was VERY upset that someone had done this in HER room.

"I did NOT do that Mommy!  I didn't put check marks on Daddy's face and X's on yours!"


As I rechecked the album, yep, she had X'd me out and checked Alex.

My daughter is symbolically removing me from my wedding to her father and stamping her approval on him.

This lady is awful...X. This man is amazing...check.

I assume this is some sort of psychologically common idea, but really?!??

I guess there have been signs of her desire to "remove me from the equation."

She almost always prefers Alex to me when given the choice.

She cried when Alex grew a beard because she could never give him a kiss again.

Not too long ago Alex did take Stella on a cute "date" for dinner.  In line for food a woman asked Stella if she was dressed like a princess.  She quickly replied to the woman, "Yes.  I'm out on a date with my Daddy because my Mommy is dead."

I can't tell you how good that feels.

On the flip side, she does always insist I sing to her before she goes to sleep.  My song is the only one she wants.

(She might be tone deaf, but it's working for me so whatever.)

That song, Hush Little Baby, is my only hope.  Please pray that Stella never figures out how to record me signing to her (or discovers how horrible I sound,) or she might do away with me entirely.

The thing is though, Alex won't be taking her to Anthropologie to do fun stuff like this.

And I think she knows that.

She and I might make it after all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teddy Knows Best

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

Thank you Theodore Roosevelt.

This is something I have on repeat in my mind right now.

Theodore Roosevelt is never saying it in my head though.  It's usually just my voice.

Or Amy Poehler's.

That sounds like a really random person to have in my head, but I read her book "Yes Please," a few months ago (good, but not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny at Tina Fey's "Bossypants," sorry Amy,) and one really important idea came from that book along the same lines as TR's quote.

(I call Theodore Roosevelt 'TR' because we are close.)

"Great for them, not for me."

This quote really takes away all the insecurity we put on ourselves when someone else is doing this whole motherhood thing, marriage thing, life thing in a totally different way than we are.  It's rarely better or worse, just different.

Well, unless you are addicted to meth and neglecting your children and cheating on your spouse.....then I'm totally doing a better job than you are.  No offense.  But...

Great for you, not for me.

I bet TR never worried about whether or not he should compare himself to a meth addict. He was such a good president.

I wonder if TR would have struggled with comparison more if he would have known that he would look a like a total creeper for all eternity on a giant national monument between Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson?

I had a point.

Or something loosely resembling a point.

I'm really struggling with comparison lately.

I don't want another marriage, or a new house, or fancy car (who could deny that my maroon minivan is the absolute best you can get?) or perfect body, or material possessions of any kind.

I want fewer children, who are older.

Now before my Mom calls me implying I am going to scar my children if they ever read this, here are my disclaimers.

I adore each and every one of my children.  I did not think I would have so many of them, but I wouldn't change it for a moment.  I think this big family is fun and dynamic and loving and all around wonderful.  I just know that someday we will be just like the Bravermans in our fierce love for one another and our exciting, complicated lives.

But...four kids, particularly with a baby, means some things are really difficult.

I see my friends with one or two kids able to go out to dinner as a family and enjoy it.

The friends who have all their kids in school all day...FIVE DAYS A WEEK.  (That's 30ish hours of time to figure your stuff out and potentially even SIT!)

I see friends who can walk out the door without holding a 25 pound weight and a million accessories to keep the weight happy while out and about town.

I used to be one of those people.  I know how good that place is.  It's still hard, but it's good.

For those friends, the idea of getting away for a night or two is not a logistical nightmare involving lots of paid child care, favors from friends, and planning for at least a solid week in order to make it happen. Things like picking your kid up from school or going to the grocery store do not require massive amounts of planning and screwing up schedules.

I could go on.

Comparison is the thief of joy though.

I know it's a lie, a total lie to think that any parent has it easy.  It feels like that from here right now though, even while I am writing these words to say it isn't true.

Stupid emotions.

So I'm digging deep when these thoughts creep in and I'm fighting to list three things quickly that I love about my life.

It isn't difficult.  There's a lot to love.

I bet you thought I would put a picture of my family there, because I love them.


That's a picture of a random chicken that showed up in our garage on top of my husband's car.  I love that random shit like that happens in my life.  That chicken wouldn't leave our house for over 24 hours.  I can't make up things that fun.

This is a good life.

And yesterday, this happened.

I was SURE our grocery store trip was going to be a total nightmare.  All four kids means so much going on while I try to find the items on my list.

But it was great.  It was awesome.  Dare I say, fun?

Perhaps I am getting carried away.  It was the grocery store.

It felt good to know that Aiden and Cole could step up and take care of part of the work and that Stella and Max could be bribed with a donut to stay calm.

I'm keeping this photo handy for the tough moments.  This grocery store memory and Teddy are going to help keep me straight.

There is no joy in comparison.

There is so much joy in an easy trip to the store with four kids.

And random chickens.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Be The Best JLo You Can Be

I loathe tabloid magazines.

I think they perpetuate all sorts of horrible things in our society like the worship of celebrity, sexualization of women, and the unhealthy pursuit of things.

That's why I only purchase them when I am traveling without kids.

I need to keep up, but protect my children.

I swear it makes sense in my head.

I was at Target last week though and saw this.

I have a total girl crush on Jennifer Lopez.

If you don't like JLo, I don't even understand anything about you.  What do you stand for?  We'll never be close friends if you carry these negative emotions about Jenny from the Block.

This makes me sad.

JLo being on the cover did not make me want to purchase the magazine though, it was the topic of staying young.  In particular, JLo sharing her secrets for staying young.

This lady has it together.

Well, perhaps she hasn't quite figured out how to stay married (fourth time could totally be IT for her though,) but she's 46 and is not only looking amazing, but she's doing A LOT.

I bought the magazine.

You see, I'm turning 40 this year.  I think I'm OK with it, but then sometimes I completely freak out about it.

Last July I started getting fake eyelashes put on every few weeks.  (My adoration for eyelashes, and the lady who comes to my house to put them on, could be a post all by itself.)

Suddenly I get my hair cut and highlighted every six weeks.  (Also LOVE my hair stylist.)

I changed the part of my hair this fall and I think it was perhaps the biggest life event for me in 2015.

Just after having Max...but barely.

I subscribe to Stitch Fix and am infatuated with Lululemon.

I obviously am having a bit of a thing about my appearance.  I feel like I'm fighting for 40 to not take over.

I want to be JLo when I turn 46. Or this year would be good.

As I read the article, which is essentially an interview with Jennifer, I felt anxious and excited to hear what her secrets were.

Yes, this is as pathetic as it sounds.

As I finished reading though, I felt really disappointed.

There was nothing exciting or profound. She didn't cover eyelash extensions or hair care (those I assume are just a given for her life,) but the things she talked about were pretty "normal" recipes for a happy and beautiful life and body.

She sleeps 7 or 8 hours a night.  She doesn't have a magic potion for her skin, though I bet she would use Arbonne if she and I chatted.  She focuses on being happy by being grateful for the people in her life, primarily the love of her children.  She eats veggies and lean protein and doesn't do alcohol or caffeine.  She works out 3 or 4 times a week.


I was expecting a list of her kale juice diet, dinners of rare pongo fish steamed with unicorn tears, and a minimum of 5 gallons of lemon water a day...made with lemons you can only get from a small island off the coast of Sicily which requires you swim for 7 miles to reach land.

Exercise was surely going to be at 5 am every day, 7 days a week.

Fancy oxygen facials twice a week. A manual skin cell rejuvenation by a rare biologist for her face at least once a month.

Nothing like that.

Protein shake for breakfast. Salmon and salad. Lots of quinoa.

Side note:  When are we getting over quinoa?  I am ready for another super grain.

You know what her exercise often is?  Freestyle dance?!?!?

No rare biologist working on her cells. Ever apparently.

She does meditate, which is good apparently.

She also doesn't have four kids.

But really, it was very, very normal.  I feel a bit duped.

Don't we all want some magic secret?  It's why fad diets and magic skin care products are so easy to peddle to the masses.

The good news though is I guess we can all be JLo.

I already drink a shake for breakfast and love to dance and don't do caffeine so I'm already basically there.

And happy and grateful for the love? could I not be?


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

God Is In The Ice Maker

Last night was rough.

Our youngest three each took turns waking us up for a variety of reasons.  Stella at midnight for water, Max from 2:00 AM -3:00 AM for diaper change and snuggles, and Cole at 4:30 AM for something Alex dealt with because I wasn't coherent enough to speak.

These mornings after difficult nights have a strange cloud over them.  On the one hand I am so grateful to just start the day and be done with trying to sleep, but on the other hand I'm exhausted and dragging.

It might surprise you to know that I can be a smidge cranky and short tempered with my people on these mornings.

(I know many of you only think of me as a benevolent, nurturing mother.)

(Pause for laughter.)

It's true though.  I am not always the best version of myself.

It is on these days that I have to literally force myself to not snap when Stella asks me to pretend I found her in my house and I don't know who she is and she hasn't had food for days and she wants to take some and I ask her to be my little girl and ask her if she could tell me where I could find a cute baby to love.

Kill me now.

I can't even keep up with everything that's happening in these scenarios and it is very frustrating to Stella when I get the plot wrong.

Am I her Mom or did she break in to my house?  Should I call the cops or CPS?  Is she starving and I should feed her or does she want to try to find food? Why on Earth would I be looking for a baby?

It's just a bit much on so little sleep.

Every morning though I have a drink over ice since I loathe coffee and this morning there was ice in the ice maker.  Not a lot, but enough.

Recently, our ice maker broke.

(This feels like I just totally switched topics and am confused.  Perhaps I forgot that I was talking about sleep deprivation and remembered I need to call someone to fix our appliances? That is sort of how my brain operates these days, but bear with me, I have a point. I think.)

Alex is really handy with these sorts of things, making him attractive AND useful.  He attempted to fix the ice maker without any success though.  In our typical fashion though we didn't immediately call someone for the repair.

I would like to say we delayed because we wanted to persevere in finding a solution on our own because we are so frugal and self sufficient...but really we are just confused and couldn't make a decision about who to call or if we wanted a new fridge or what the hell was going on with any of it.

Mostly we're just tired.

About a week after the failed attempts to fix it, the ice maker worked again.  There wasn't a full bin at first, but there was ice.  Then it stopped working again.  Then it filled to the top and stayed that way.  Then there was nothing.  And on it has gone for a few months now.

If you are thinking that the unpredictability of our ice maker sounds annoying, you are correct.

Despite this annoyance though, Alex and I have started to see the ice maker as a metaphor for life.

(And an unexpected source of amusement for us.)

On difficult mornings like today, the ice maker surprised me with just enough to get me through.  Some days, when the ice maker is empty I have to make my own ice using ice trays (the PAIN,) or go without and be OK with no ice.  When it is full and ice is plentiful we are grateful and excited, it feels like this unexpected gift we don't deserve.

Life is like our ice maker.

Some mornings just enough will be provided to get you through, some days you have to figure things out on your own, and some days things just work out and are easy and plentiful and you have to relish in the gratitude of that moment.

God takes care of the ice, even when it doesn't seem like there will ever be ice again, you have to believe that He is going to give you enough of what you need and sometimes you will feel like you've been given more than you could ever ask for at one time.

I have attempted to share this wisdom with my children but so far they really only want to know if there is ice. Yes or no.  No need for a monologue on finding meaning in unexpected places.

I like to hold the glass up (empty or full or partially filled) and give this speech to my children because it makes me feel important.  As does filling and emptying ice trays.

Can you believe how profound our ice maker is?

Does everyone have these deep thoughts about their appliances during bouts of sleep deprivation?

What is your ice maker telling you?

P.S. Magic of Tidying Up Update: Page 46...killing it*

*Or really slowly working through it in very small moments...same thing.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Making Big Messes

When I lived in Australia I would run every day by the river, sometimes wearing only a sports bra and small black running shorts.

I have absolutely nothing else to say about that, but I just wanted someone to know that everything about that sentence actually happened.

In my quest to become the most amazing Leslie EVER in 2016, I did this yesterday:

It looks like a pile of junk on my bedroom floor, because it is a pile of junk on my bedroom floor.

It all came out of a VERY full and disorganized cabinet in my room that I had to close quickly or else rolls of wrapping paper would attack me. We all have those, right?

Recently my awesome friend Sabra recommended the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, so I asked for it for Christmas because I do whatever Sabra tells me to do, and you should too.  Alex came through with my Christmas wish because he does whatever I tell him to do, (let's just pretend,) and probably because he was excited to purchase something on my list for less than $20.

(Other Christmas list items included Lululemon clothing, motivation, a Tory Burch purse and a sense of self. He went with the Lululemon and suggested more therapy for the motivation and sense of self.  He's super helpful.)

The entire idea of this book is in order to make a life-changing move to put order in your house (and therefore your life) is to pull everything out, sort it, get rid of most of it, and then have a place for only objects you use.

(There might be a few more things in the book. I'm making an assumption that I already know everything Marie wants to tell me. I was too ambitious about organizing to wait to read the whole thing before starting this process. I'm currently on page 25. Out of 204. Can we be happy about the overall progress I'm making and not judge my slow reading?)

So I am pulling things out, making GIANT messes, and I am hauling all sorts of stuff off to Goodwill.  My Mom would die at the things I am getting rid of right now.  The "what if" possibilities are hard for her to fight. I KNOW Marie wants me to do this though.

And Sabra.

And my potentially OCD friend Kathleen who might actually be Marie, but not Asian, and not named Marie. Details.

Picture frames, candles, sheets, purses, water bottles (the water bottles!) towels, fabric for all my make believe sewing projects, cups, toys....they are all going.

In April I worked on my closet, getting rid of TEN trash bags of clothes, shoes, and handbags.

Sometimes I miss those sequined flats that I had kept for 10 years and never worn.*

The end result was this.

That is basically all my clothes, except jeans. I don't even wear all these.

Now I've gotten rid of even more and it feels great.

Unfortunately I'm doing all this with Max around so there are a lot of breaks, which 25 pages in, Marie has strongly written against taking.  Maybe Marie has a way to work her system using an 11 month old?  Maybe I should keep reading.

This pile of "toys" closely resembles a pile of trash.

The good news is that the dog is helping me make fast decisions about things like extra pillows, bean bags, and random boxes by peeing on them.  I am sort of confident that Marie advocates throwing away any and all peed on textiles.

In my mind I chose to believe that he's being helpful so that I don't kill him.

On an unrelated note, would anyone be interested in a dog?

So basically I'm killing my 2016 resolutions.  Getting organized, writing, and guess what Max and I did yesterday...

That's a whopping TWO walks in seven days.  I'm basically Jillian Michaels.

I'm almost back to my Australian running days.  I'll have to recreate my sports bra and running shorts look since I'm going to be so fit!*

Hope you all are making big or even small strides toward whatever it is your heart desires in 2016.

We can do this!

P.S. I updated the More Me section of my blog to actually reflect small details in my life like the aging of my children five years and the correct number of children I have. Take a look!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BIG Dreams For 2016

It's been a while since I posted that I had that fourth baby.

I've been busy.

I know, I know, we're all busy.

I know...we aren't supposed to say we are busy because there was that article on Facebook that told us it's a pathetic badge of honor we are all wearing or something.

But, I've been busy.

I have a lot of friends who are busy volunteering in the classroom or orchestrating wonderful life group happenings for church or building amazing businesses, but I'm not busy like that.

I'm busy watching things like this.

I literally sat on my floor yesterday and watched Max crawl in and out of these table leaves, (which I never put back in the hall closet because I accomplish NOTHING unless it is crying at me or helps me sleep,) for a solid thirty minutes.  That's a really long time.  This video is less than 20 seconds.

I sat in the yard for at least an hour over the course of the day yesterday watching Max pick grass or try to hit the tetherball or pick flowers.

Side Note: I also am ALL caught up on Facebook because I can do that while watching Max.  Yay for all of you with that single "word for the year" and those of you who are tearing through How to Make a Murderer and went on fun holiday trips! I see your accomplishments while I watch my baby.

Watching Max is "my thing."

Sometimes I'm not very good at "my thing."

He might be prone to chew on beer bottles in the recycle bin.

And open drawers of bread and help himself.

I am comfortable with my current performance level at "my thing."

The five year gap between Stella and Max was a long space in which I forgot how painfully boring, yet all consuming, watching a baby can be.  There's a lot of physical work involved in keeping this guy alive and well.  (Fine, well-ish.)

There's all that feeding, diapering, wiping of hands/mouths/floor/shirts/feet, lifting, protecting, pushing,'s quite a process every day.  When I'm not doing the physical side of things, I'm doing the watching. It takes every bit of my time and energy and I think I sort of forgot how this whole stage goes down.

It's not my favorite stage.  It goes against all the enthusiasm I have for myself as a separate entity from my role as Mom or wife.

(Two of my three favorite roles, but I also really love the being Leslie role.)

Max is insanely cute, potentially off the charts, but he totally has jacked up my sense of self...along with a whole slew of other things that I can't go in to right now.

Worth it?

Of course.



This too shall pass?

Shut up.  (I've been here before, those words aren't helpful.)

In the interest of the whole New-Year-fresh-start idea I made a simple list of things I wanted to focus on in 2016.  I have a tendency to wallow in my frustrations (no commentary needed here,) particularly when I don't write them out....please note my last post was ELEVEN months ago, so I figured a plan of action would make me feel better.  I was going to take back control.

My list is as follows:

1. Organize House
2. Go on Walks
3. Write

I was pretty proud of this list, viewing it as reasonable and yet productive.  Unfortunately, I also was carrying around guilt about all I was ignoring.

My business, my relationships, my other roles, and a little bit of my long term dreams were all left out and I desperately wanted to try to figure out a way to sort of squeeze them in....until a friend pointed out to me that it speaks volumes about my current stage in life for one of my top three ambitions to be "go for a walk."


The context of this conversation was encouraging and kind so no need to think this friend was belittling my "ambition." She was right.  This is where I am.

I am all consumed with watching a little person grow right now and there isn't a lot left for me. I'm fighting for more, I'm fighting for that walk, and this blog post, and my organized closets (coming January 27th,) but I could use a little acceptance for myself.

So, here it is, my GIANT dream for my life in 2016....go on a walk.

Five days in to the year I have done this exactly ONE time.

It's going to be an amazing year.

P.S.  I still have those other three kids. They are fantastically older and becoming the most delightful people...I must have done an amazing job watching them when it was "my thing."