Monday, July 30, 2012

Well it's done... almost...

Thanks to the help of countless people from our family and ward... we are finally packed up and ready to go. Just about. One last trash run, and load up the van for our trip to NJ, and the apartment will finally be EMPTY.

I am beyond tired. I have not been able to sleep lately at all. And then when I finally do fall asleep it only lasts a short while until a crazy child wakes me up. Soooo tired! I've been averaging probably around 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. And last night was more like 2.

During all of this craziness Nathan got 2 teeth.

And I did about $300ish worth of damage to our van.

Just to throw in some extra fun.

But for real... I can't believe we are leaving today. These last two years have literally been the best of my life. I am so sad to see this chapter end.

I was able to start out our time here in New Jersey, soaking up time with my family. I am so glad we did that, and I was able to eat clams my Poppy made, and see him laugh at Olivia gobbling them up. I never dreamed hugging and kissing him goodbye in my parents drive way would be the last time I would see him. I'm so grateful for that time with him.

And then we got to Erie and I got strep throat and knew no one. I was so sick and we didn't have insurance yet. Oh that was a rough time.

And then just as we were starting to get settled we got the phone call about Poppy dying. Which led to a crazy month of trips to NJ.

And then we got back and found our grove. We met the most wonderful people. Our kids made great friends. We went on many adventures, and made so many great memories. We made the 450 mile drive to NJ a couple dozen times the past two years. Aaron's brother moved to PA and we have been able to spend lots of time with cousins. We bought a van. We had a baby at home. I started running. Seriously BEST TWO YEARS EVER!!

I'm sure there are lots of great things in store for us, and I have faith that the future will be great, but I will always look back fondly at our time in Erie.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy campers?

We went camping Friday - Sunday.

The drive there was just unbearably awful. Straight up h-e-double hockey sticks. We realized too late that we forgot Nathan's Pack n' Play. Tried to find a Wal-Mart to buy one so we could possibly think about getting some sleep the next two nights. Didn't happen. Finding the Wal-Mart, nor getting some sleep the next two nights.

Sharing a tent with a 4 and 2 year old, and a 7 month old... with two deflating air mattresses... yeah good times.

But at least I wasn't on the broken cot. That was Aaron's pleasure. Every so often I would hear the loud snap of another coil breaking.

Seriously fun times.

We wanted to have friends join us at our camp site for dinner... but the KOA charges $4 per person to even step on their sacred grounds. Crazy! We just met at a park instead and it was fine, but seriously. $4 a person?!

It was also humid and muggy and so hot during the day... and then somehow insanely cold at night. Like frost on our car windows in the morning and we could see our breath.

And then there was the fact that Olivia had to pee 50 million times the first night. At about the 49,999,999th time I was sure she couldn't really have anything left. So instead of risking waking up Nathan who had finally settled down, I dug through the duffle bag and found one of Aaron's shirts. I wrapped it around Olivia like a diaper and told her to just pee on it. Totally expecting nothing, or very little to come out. I am sure this is WAY more information than you wanted to read, but oh it just gets better. She soaked through the shirt, and was on my lap, so through my pants, and sleeping bag and air mattress. Definitely not my brightest idea.

That first night I literally did not sleep at all. There wasn't a moment where all three children were asleep at the same time. As soon as one would fall asleep, another would wake up. Aaron declared that we were going home after the pageant and forget about another night.

Oh the pageant? Yes, that was the reason for all of this craziness. We were in Palmyra, NY for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. And that part was awesome. Really nothing I can complain about there. Olivia loved it, and seeing her face and listening to her talk about it really made the whole experience worth it.

Plus we met some awesome people at our camp site. The kids had an absolute blast. And it was fun to bond as a family.

The best part was probably the Spanish Branch that was camping next to us. They had like a million avocados and I was salivating imagining the yummy guacamole they were going to be making. And then they started cooking all this delicious food, and I kept telling Aaron, "I hope they invite us over." And a few minutes later they came over and asked us if we wanted any food. It was awesome. I walked over and immediately someone took my baby, handed me a plate, and there was a whirl of people filling my plate with all kind of mexican, delicious, goodness.

And actually... it wasn't that good. But they were so generous, I so appreciated it. And if I didn't have it, I would have spent my whole life thinking I missed out on the best Mexican food ever. Now I know it was only so-so Mexican food. I know, I know, I'm weird.

Oh and on our way out of town Aaron pulled into the mall parking lot, handed me $100 and told me to go buy the Vibrams I've been wanting. Best. Husband. Ever.

And now it's almost 1:00AM and I'm so not tired. My brain just won't stop. In two weeks I'll be living in AZ. I can't even wrap my mind around it. It's going to feel like these two years never even happened and we never left. It's crazy how time does that.

One more thing... there was this horrible tragic story of a boy who was digging a hole on the beach, and the hole collapsed and he suffocated and died. So, so, sad. And I don't mean to compare at all, moving to dying. No, not at all. But when I first heard about it, I felt like I could perfectly imagine what that would feel like. When I start to think about everything that's going to happen in the next two weeks, and everything I have to do, I feel the sand falling in on me, and a literal tightness in my chest, and I can't breathe until I remind myself I only have to do one thing at a time. One day at a time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

random ramblings

It's raining. My kids are all happily occupied. (One asleep, two playing outside in the rain. One good thing about having such noisy children is that I can watch them without even having to see them. The moment it's quiet I know I need to go see what's going on. As long as there is yelling and squealing and occasional screaming, I know all is well.) I have a million other things to do -- so I'm blogging.

I have been running lately. Thought you should know. Since this is probably my longest streak ever. I made a goal to myself to run for 30 days straight. I'd say after about day 17 or so I lost track of the days, but fell in love with running. I have found the joy of getting lost in a song, while your feet pound out the beat on the pavement. I run at the end of the day, once all my kiddo's are in bed for the night. I have had a lot of trouble falling asleep, and the two may be related but for now it's worth it. I just don't know when else I'd have enough time during the day. This has been working for me.

I'm no closer to being packed and ready since the last time I updated.

And we also have a camping trip coming up. Like tomorrow. Yeeahhh...

Aaand just thinking about all this is making me realize I need to get to work and get off the computer.

And those kids got a little too quiet outside...

Monday, July 16, 2012

How many days until we move??

Our time in Erie is coming to an end. We are shipping up and moving across the country in about 2 weeks. If you came to my house you would see, by lack of packed boxes, that I am in complete denial of that fact.

I have just loved living here. I am so grateful for the forces that brought us here. Two years ago I got to spend a week in NJ spending time with my family, including my Poppy, who I would never get to see in this life ever again. He was in 80's and every time we left NJ to go back to AZ, I would give him an extra big hug and would let myself think for a moment, this could be the last time I ever see him. I'd quickly brush that thought away, but the truth was a lot of the time we didn't know when we would be coming back and so it was true. I'd try tuck the memory of what I thought could be our last moment together somewhere special in my heart, until the next time I saw him. However, once we moved here, and the last time I saw him was when I was driving away to PA, not flying to AZ, I never dreamed I wouldn't see him again. I took no such mental picture, and sadly we didn't take nearly enough physical pictures that trip. Really, that whole week is a blur. I wish I could remember it more.

After only two weeks or so of living here we got the phone call that he had a stroke. We were on the road immediately. Only to realize that driving through the night with two small tired children was not a very good idea. My dad was begging to stay home and just come in the morning. I felt like I could talk and "say goodbye" to him from anywhere really. So we turned around and went home. And I sat on my porch and said my "goodbyes" from a distance. We found out the next morning, even if we did drive all night we would not have made it in time to say goodbye anyway. That was kind of a relief, as I was somewhat regretting not going. So we drove the next morning, and were there for the next several days. Those days are also a blur. We then drove home for a week.... and then drove back to spend a couple weeks with my Nanny while she grieved. Aaron dropped us off, and then picked us up a week, or maybe it was two weeks, later. Did I mention this drive is 450 miles? And that my kids were 2.5 and 9 months old?

Needless to say - the first year here was a rough one. Of course it had its good times, but overall it was very stressful. The next year was much better. I was more accustomed to Aaron's busy schedule, and on top of that no one died. Aaron's brother and his family also moved to PA last year and that has been so much fun. I really, really don't want this time to end! We have made such great friends that I will miss so much.

I have no idea where I'm going with this post. I just woke up and realized it's Monday -- a new week. And one of the last that we'll be here. I'm sad, and stressed, and excited for the next chapter in our lives to unfold. It's crazy how fast the last two years have gone by. And I'm sure the next two will fly by just as quick. I am so anxious to see where the next two years will bring us. It is somewhat unsettling to have no idea really where we will be once Aaron is finished with all of his schooling. Of course, we'll most likely be in AZ, but who knows where Heavenly Father will guide us, and where we will get a job, and all of that.

Guess we'll all have to stay tuned to find out.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

29.


This low quality photo pretty much sums up my love for my husband.
This was the view from my kitchen window a few nights ago.
What you can't see are Abigail and Olivia riding bikes on the side walk.
And the fact that Nathan is literally ripping the hair from Aaron's beard with his tiny claws of destruction.

Aaron is the most selfless person I know.
He thinks of me before himself, always.
My happiness means more to him than anything.
Likewise, his happiness means more to me than anything.
Which is why we can never make decision.
"What do you want to do?"
"No don't worry about what I want. Let's do what you want."
And so it goes.

I don't know what I did to get so lucky to be married to someone so perfect for me.
But I'm glad every day that I wake up next to him.
I'm glad we're in this whole parenthood thing together, because I'd be a wreck without him.

Anyway - I'm getting wordy. 
All I want to say is,
I'm really, really glad you were born 29 years ago.
And I'm really looking forward to spending the 29 (+) by your side.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Not my best idea...

In fact maybe it was one of the worst.

I told the girls we could have a girls night sleepover in my bed. They were ecstatic. We started our night with a Taylor Swift Dance Party. Did some make overs with stick on nails. And then watched a movie. Then we went to bed... and Olivia was just beaming. She was so thrilled to be in my bed. But of course she didn't want to sleep. But she was SO tired. I could tell she was just keeping herself awake because she didn't want it to end. Sweet, but not so much when you know how tired and grumpy she will be the next day.

And then there was Abigail. Who sleeps wonderfully - in her own bed. In my bed, she was just a maniac. She was rolling around and playing and kept wanting to get books.

Finally I made up a story about having to go feed Nathan - and I went for a run with my friend. When I got back both girls were asleep. Aaron had to put Abigail in her own bed because she just wouldn't settle down. He told her he would put her back in my bed once she fell asleep. So I went up to bed, and we brought Abigail into bed with me. Olivia stayed asleep, and Abigail woke up just a bit, but fell right back to sleep.

Oh if it could only have been that good all night.

At midnight Abigail woke up. Wide awake. Wanting to chat. Read books. Ask me questions. For FOUR hours. I could not believe it. I kept threatening to put her back in her own bed, and then she'd be quiet, and perfectly still for seriously 20 minutes. And then out of nowhere she'd say, "Mommy I has to tell you a question." And then she'd ask me something random like, "Does Heavenly and Father rhyme?" Every time I'd think she was asleep, and then she'd pop up with another question. This went on for literally FOUR hours. Her last question was around 4:15AM.

Aaaand Olivia was up by 6, followed by Nathan shortly after.

Nothing like going through your day with less than 2 hours of sleep.

Plus the girls were super tired and so grumpy all day. Definitely not worth it! This was two days ago and I'm still tired.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One of those days

Ever have one of those days when your cashier at the grocery store puts each of your items in individual bags, and ties each one in a knot? Meanwhile all three of your children are whining and crying because they've been forced to be squeezed in a cart for the past 45 minutes, and they woke up entirely too early this morning.

And then they get out of the cart, and you try to yell without yelling at them to get back here, right now. The 4 year old listens, the 2 year old walks into the bathroom. You swipe your card as fast as you can and run to the bathroom, only to find your 2 year old about to walk out of the bathroom - completely naked??

Then you find her clothes on the bathroom floor, get angry looks from evil people who have no sympathy for crazy young mommas, get her dressed and get the heck out of there as fast as you can. Ever have a day like that?

Then when you get home, you have to lug in three children plus $200 worth of groceries? And then put it all away while the 6 month old cries and the preschoolers fight? And then when it's finally quiet hearing...

"Mom... uhm... I found these scissors, and I could have cut my hair but... I didn't...."

While you see handfuls of hair on the floor?

Oh and it's not even noon yet.

Can I go back to bed now?


Guest blogging... whaaaaat!

My friend Geneva asked me to guest post on her blog! I seriously felt so special. Silly, but true. Of course after reading it again I feel kind of like I'm pretty lame. A blog about blogging, really? That's the best I can come up with? Oh well. If you feel like it go read it and then reassure me that I shouldn't feel embarrassed. http://hazardousundertakings.blogspot.com/

Anyway, it's Laundry Day and I have a goal to get everything in my house washed, dried and put away or packed. I want to leave out only 10 outfits for everyone. Maybe a few more for the baby. But that's it. I'm obviously working really hard on this goal by blogging about it. Totally getting me there.

But here are my thoughts from this morning.

I looked at Abigail, who was needing help with the bathroom, and all of a sudden I just felt completely scared and overwhelmed. Is this normal? I helped her with her pants and whatever she was needing, no big deal, but all of a sudden it just hit me. All three of these little people rely completely on me to survive the day. And really what is it with kids and wanting to kill themselves? It's like they are magnets for danger. I give Nathan teething toys, rattles, etc. He looks at it for a minute, then chucks it and heads for the extension cord that's plugged into the wall. Must look tastier than a purple monkey who squeaks when you shake him. He learned to crawl this week, so he's now even more proactive in finding ways to hurt himself. Why crawl for the pile of toys just a few inches away when there are perfectly good choking hazards across the room!

Fortunately the girls are getting older and learning how to survive a bit on their own. Especially Olivia. She can practically take care of herself. She gets herself breakfast, turns on the TV and Netflix, and is overall very independent. Abigail still asks me for everything. But then insists on doing it herself once I start to get it for her. Then she takes forever to do whatever it is, and throws a royal fit if I try to help her in anyway.

Anyway I'm just rambling now, but the point is most of the time I'm like "Okay I got this." And then sometimes I'm like "Wait a sec - how many people did I make?! Seriously 3 of them?!" And I feel completely certain I will not make it through the day. These moments occur mostly on Mondays when Aaron has to go back to school. I rely on him so much when he's here, I start to think I can't do it by myself when he's gone. But somehow we've made it this far.

Now on to that laundry.... But you... don't do anything productive yet! Go read my post on Hazardous Undertakings!  :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

making memories

I love that each one of my children have a cousin of matching age. Olivia has Kaitlyn and Danielle (twins), Abigail has Brandon, and Nathan has Derrick. I also love that through sheer craziness we are all living in PA at the same time. Of course I'd love it a lot more if they were up here in Erie, but we make the most of how close they are, seeing each other at least once a month. 

We were all able to hang out for the 4th of July and it was just chock full of all the ingredients for perfect childhood memories. Sleeping over, dancing and running around in the rain, sparklers, staying up super late and watching fireworks from the porch, playing dress up, eating ice cream cones, and playing in the baby pool. Even a bee sting! I mean really who can ever forget a time they were stung by a bee? Olivia stepped on a bee and got stung on her foot... literally days after I did the exact same thing.

There were some great quotes from our kids and I'm sad because I already forgot some of them. Most came from my niece Danielle. The fireworks we were watching from the porch were just neighbors setting off their own little show, and so there was a lot of time between them. We'd start to think maybe there wouldn't be anymore and it was time to go in, and then all of a sudden a few more would go off. Well one time when this happened Danielle exclaimed, "THANK YOU HEAVENLY FATHER!" while throwing her fist in the air. You have to read it in a rock star-thanking-the-local-audience kind of voice. Ya know like, "THANK YOU NEW YORK!" She sounded just like that, which sent Allison and I into fits of laughter. 

All the kids also thought we were seeing Disneyland. Also cracked me up.

Uncle Douger was away at scout camp, so it was really sweet when Olivia turned around and said, "I wish Uncle Douger could see this!"

And seriously I can't think of all the other hilarious things that came from their little mouths. Allison you will have to remind me!

Aaron and I took all the big kids to get ice cream. The whole time was very laid back and the kids just wore whatever they wanted. So on our little ice cream run Brandon was in just a diaper, a couple of kids were in PJ's and I think one was in dress up clothes. I'm pretty sure anyone who saw us thought we were poor and crazy. It is so fun to see all the kids together though and look at how we went from 0 to 7 kids in 4 years. 

Despite the lack of sleep, it was a great, great time had by all. We can't wait to see them all again, hopefully one last time before we move to AZ.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our spell of bad luck

Friday Aaron had to get shots for school, including a tetanus shot.

Saturday we were all playing in front yard, common area place in our apartment complex. We were all barefoot. Aaron was the lucky finder of a rusty nail. With his foot. It was like a horror movie. It was about 3/4 of an inch into his heel. And he tried to pull it out and it wouldn't budge. I started panicking, planning a trip to the ER. He tried again and it still wouldn't move. I was calling the kids to get in the car so we could go to the hospital, when Aaron took one final tug and pulled it out. *shuddering* It was awful. It was so rusty. And gross.

All we could think though was how fortunate that he had just gotten his tetanus shot the day before. Always looking for the silver lining.

Then the next day I was walking around outside. Again, barefoot. And I stepped on a bee. And it stung the bottom of my foot. I didn't really freak out too much. I mean hello - I've delivered babies au natural so I'm not going to freak out about a little bee sting. Right?? Well the pain was one thing. It was over after about 20 minutes, and I probably pouted more than necessary. But now... Now that bee sting has turned into the itchiest, itchiest itch I have ever experienced. It is literally driving me crazy.

There was a third thing... and I can't remember what it was now. That's probably good. Either it wasn't that big of a deal, or it was so terrible I blocked it from my memory.

So I guess what I've learned from these experiences is that maybe, just maybe I should start wearing one of the 20 pairs of shoes I own...