Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Poppy!

This picture was taken the last time I ever saw Poppy. The girls and I had just spent a couple weeks in NJ while Aaron drove cross country with his mom, moving us to Erie, PA. I was certain the next two years would be full of trips visiting with Nanny and Poppy. We were now just an 8 hour drive away, instead of the 5 hour flight. We would be back to visit often. And we were. But Poppy passed away just a couple of weeks after we moved to PA. I still just cry my eyes out thinking of it. But today is his birthday. He would have been 85. Sometimes I think that's not so old! It's not fair that he's not still alive. There are people older who are still alive. But Poppy never wanted to get old. And I really believe he never did. Hours before he died he was pulling weeds in his daughter's front yard. Who knows what else he did that day, but I'm sure it wasn't "old people stuff".

   I've written so many posts here about him. I don't know what I've already said. I'm sure I've said I miss him. But that bears repeating. I miss him.

     Tonight I cooked Clams Oreganato in his honor. It was my favorite thing that he would make for me. I think part of the reason I loved it so much, was because of how much he enjoyed making it. He would spend so much time steaming the clams, finely mincing the fresh garlic, and dicing fresh tomatoes. He loved to experiment always trying to improve his recipe. Tonight as I made the clams myself I could literally hear him in my head telling me what to do. He was kind of known for that. Telling people what to do, that is. I don't think he's stopped. I just need to listen a little harder, and he's right there whispering in my ear "No, no that's too much garlic." Or, "Yes, good, that's a way. Now slowly... alright... don't burn yourself. Watch out for the steam." Stuff like that. Clear as a bell, I'm telling ya. Once I pull out that garlic and a cutting board it's like he's right there with me. I remember him teaching me to cut out the green part of the garlic because it's bitter. Not to over cook it, because it would get bitter. And you can never add too much butter.

    After dinner we had a special family night where we talked about how much Poppy loved each one of my kids so much. Well he never had a chance to meet Nate, but I know he would be over the moon for him. I want my kids to know how much they were loved by him. How special they are, and how much joy they brought to him. Abigail was too young to remember him, but Olivia remembers. And I'm so, so grateful for that.

   I'm not sure what else to say. I hope he's having a great birthday in heaven with all his friends who passed before him. I hope he knows we all still miss him and love him so much. I know I'll see him again, and I'm grateful for that knowledge. But good golly, I miss that man!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just to remember

I don't remember much of Abigail's first year of life. I come back to this blog often to help me remember when certain things happened. Apparently a lot of her second year is also a blur because I don't remember when we switched from a crib to a toddler bed. Aaron said to check the blog, and I can't find any documentation of Abigail growing out of her crib. Sadness!

So, just so I won't forget here is a little glimpse at my kids right now. Olivia will be 5 in March. Since we aren't sure yet where we are going to be I haven't enrolled her in Kindergarten yet. I am looking at different Montessori schools, and considering all the options that are here. It is exciting. I can't imagine her being gone all day! It makes me sad and happy at the same time. She is learning to read and it's so exciting. She fights with me about homework, but she loves going to school. Her best friend there is Simeon and they are kind of in love. She is feisty and if she gets overtired, seriously watch out. This hasn't changed since she was a baby. She hates sleeping and fights it like the plague, but then when she is tired she isn't just tired she's the grumpiest human being on the planet. But when Nate cries she is always the first to run to him. In the mornings she climbs into his crib to cheer him up. She really is a great big sister. She keeps things interesting all the time, and I'm so grateful for her.

Abigail started dance class last week. She loved it so much. I just told her a little while ago that in 3 days she gets to go dance class and she exclaimed, "AGAIN?!" Cracked me up that it never even occurred to her that it would happen more than once. Such a sweet girl. Her speech is still hard to understand. I actually called the school today to start the process to have her evaluated to see if she might need speech. I have been working with her and I just don't know. I can understand her clear as a bell, but most people look at me puzzled after she's done talking to them. She continues to be a dream child. She will put herself down for naps. She can easily entertain herself all day long. Her and Olivia have their fights but she's very often the peacemaker and lets Olivia have her way. I'm so grateful for her sweet spirit.

Nathan reminds me so much of Olivia at this age. And that scares me, because I know what to expect the next two years! But Aaron keeps reminding me that we are smarter and wiser now. And that he's not exactly like her. And that I shouldn't keep saying that or it will be a self fulfilling prophecy. But, he is a lot like her in how verbal he is. Yesterday he stacked three blocks together and made a little tower. He was SO proud of himself. It was so toddlerish - and so not babyish. He is growing up. We got a space heater for his room and he has been sleeping much better ever since. I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but I'm not about to mess with it. He loves to cuddle. I'm sure I've written about it several times but he is by my far cuddliest child. If he has anything remotely soft, he brings it to his face and sucks his thumb. Warms my heart every time. His face lights up when he sees his sisters. He loves to climb up into the bottom bunk (Abigail's bed) and play with her in there. He steals her binkies and cracks up because he knows he's being funny. He is my little boy and I just love him so much (most days).

In other news ... it is COLD here. Like really. Not just we're wusses in the desert. Our lows were in the 20's! Of course our highs were in the 50's. But still in the morning and at night it is freezing. Actually, literally freezing. Today has been a bit warmer and I think every day this week is going to be warmer than the day before. And before I know it we will be scorching here in the summer and not even able to remember what COLD felt like.

What else? Not sure where we are going to be and that is stressful. Aaron finally got all the applications done and he's already gotten two interviews! So now the stress isn't in the doing, just the waiting. I'm alright with that because then once the interviews are over we will have to decide where we want to go, and then hope we match. All I do is focus on one day at a time. Right now there's nothing to do but wait, so I try not to think about it. I distract myself with wonderful things like delicious food found on blogs through Pinterest, and Downton Abbey. For some reason nothing soothes my tired soul quite like Pinterest browsing and/or Downton Abbey.

And I guess that about sums it up! Aaron is at an insurance company this rotation. He's gone 12 hours a day. I feel bad for him. It is a long commute and he has to get up really early and he's just not a morning person. But he's doing it and I'm proud of him.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Things That Have Made Me Laugh This Morning

I was feeding Nathan breakfast when I heard blood curling screams from Abigail. I jumped up and ran towards the screams afraid of what I was going to find. And then I saw Abigail coming down the stairs with a laundry basket stuck on her head. It took a lot of self control not to start cracking up right then. Part of the laundry basket was cracked and somehow her hair was stuck in it and it hurt. But just the sight was so funny. After I untangled her hair and got her settled I asked, "Can we laugh about that now, Abigail because that was pretty funny?" And she started cracking up. Love a girl with a good sense of humor.

A few minutes later Olivia was trying to build something out of some random materials she found on the kitchen table. Abigail kept "whistling" loudly through a straw, and it was driving Olivia bonkers. She "couldn't concentrate on her tower" and she was getting angrier and more and more upset. Of course she couldn't just move to another location or ignore her. No, the only thing to do was scream and yell. So I asked Abigail to come talk to me for a minute. I asked her why kept making that whistling sound when it was making Olivia so mad.

She said, "That's the song that bad guys sing. If I sing that song really loud the police will come. And then you will get your wallet back!"

My wallet was stolen 6 months ago. The stuff that sticks in her little brain that she offers up at the most random times cracks me up.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My latest motherhood epiphany

The other day I was sitting on a chair in The Girls' Room, with all three kids on my lap. And the dog literally sitting on my feet. I was trying to read them all a book, but they wouldn't stop squirming, grabbing and basically the entire event turned into one giant scream fest. On my lap. And I felt like I was suffocating. I was thinking about the fact that come Monday, Aaron would be gone 12 hours a day, and I'd be on my own. I felt six little legs and six little arms climbing all over me. And I felt like my chest was going to cave in. I just couldn't breathe. Where did all these people come from and why on Earth do they need to be ON TOP OF ME TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN?!

So I screamed. And yelled at all of them to just GET OFF ME. And then I stood up and both girls fell to their feet and I held Nathan like he was a sack of potatoes and I stomped into my bedroom and plopped Nathan down next to a sleeping Aaron and yelled, "I'm taking a shower."

What a way to wake up. Poor Aaron. The girls were crying because of my outburst, Nathan was crying because I plopped him down on the bed like a sack of potatoes, and I was in the bathroom with the door locked. And Aaron was trying to wake up and figure out what the heck was going on.

And I cried. And I sobbed. And I thought. I do my best thinking in the shower. And I thought and thought.

And the thought came to me. These children are a blessing, not a curse. They are my greatest blessings, and I'm cursing them. I thought about someone's blog I was reading last week and they mentioned they were lonely. I realized at that moment in the shower I literally can not even remember what lonely feels like. I don't even know what it feels like to go to the bathroom alone!

And I realized my attitude of "Oh poor me" had to go. Poor me? What, because too many people love me? Poor me, I have three amazing little people who can't get enough of me. At one point in my life, I was lonely. And I am so blessed I literally can't remember what that felt like. One day I'm sure I'll be lonely again. So for now I am going to soak up these little kids constantly needing to be near me.

And I realize it's okay to feel overwhelmed when you have that many bodies climbing all over you. I know it's normal to sometimes explode. And it's certainly normal and okay to be annoyed by your children. I'm not beating myself up, just learning and growing. And when I write it down I tend to remember it a bit more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I love a fresh new year.

I really don't enjoy the holiday of New Year's Eve. I never have. But I always love a new year. Maybe for the same reason I like mornings and Mondays. Just the idea of a clean slate is appealing to me. I love reflecting on all that has happened, and thinking about what we know for sure this year holds for us, and imagining what will happen that we don't know about.

I always take a long luxurious bubble bath on New Year's Eve. It's like my own personal tradition of washing away the old. I give myself a facial, shave my legs and feel all clean and ready for the new year. Last night I thought about how hard the beginning of last year was. Aaron left on New Year's Day and I stayed in Arizona for 10 days with our kids. 3 year old Olivia, 2 year old Abigail and brand spankin new Nathan. It was HARD. My hormones were crazy. I wanted my own bed, my own home, and my husband to get up with the bed wetters, deal with the tantrums and bad dreams, and I just wanted to connect with and love on my new baby. But we got through it and I suppose I'm stronger for the experience.

But last night was just perfect. We did fireworks with the kids at 8:00 - and let them think it was midnight. They loved it so much. We were just together as our little family and it was so perfect. Besides the fact that Nathan cried and cried and cried for hours yesterday. I told Aaron that is a plus to having more than one kid. If one is super grumpy it's tolerable because at least you have two other kids who are being cute. If Nathan was my only child yesterday, I don't even know. I would have gone a little more nuts. Poor boy is still getting more teeth. He got a molar! Hopefully the other one comes in quickly and we can be done for a while.

Anyway, I'm full of all sorts of resolutions. Lose weight. Take more pictures. Read more books. Family scripture study. Cook a new recipe every day for 30 days. Play more with my kids. Overcome my sugar addiction (seriously it's an addiction at this point, people). Blog more. And if at least one of those are successful we'll call it a good year.

2013 felt like it would never get here. This is the year Aaron graduates from LECOM. The year we will find out where we will get a residency, or a job. We will most likely be moving. I can't wait to find out where. Olivia will start Kindergarten in August this year. I'm sure there will be a few trips to New Jersey. Certainly a trip to Erie for graduation in June. So much to look forward to!