Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Mother's Love Story

Today I took all three of my kiddos to the children's museum for member appreciation day. Curious George was there. Cookie decorating. Free breakfast from Mesa Public Schools. It was all sorts of fun. Then we left to spend some of the generous Valentine's Day money my mom sent the kids. Olivia has been wanting some books so we headed to Bookman's. I have not been there since before we moved to PA. Nathan fell asleep on the way over.

A little back story. When Aaron and I were first married we lived right across the street from Bookman's . There's also a dollar store right next to it. When we were trying to get pregnant and my period would be a few days late I would always go to that dollar store and pick up a pregnancy test. And since I didn't have enough patience to actually wait until I got home to pee on a stick, I would walk next door to Bookman's and use their bathroom. Many tears of disappointment were shed in that bathroom. Month after agonizing month.

However, today I found myself standing in that same bathroom with my THREE children. Nathan asleep in my arms, and holding Abigail up with my other arm, awkwardly balanced on my leg so she could wash her hands. My arms were literally full of babies. I thought about how it was only about five and a half years ago I was crying my eyes out in that bathroom certain I would never have the chance to be a mother and feeling so completely empty. And now here I am so incredibly full.

This morning Olivia brought me breakfast in bed. A bowl of my favorite cereal, and a glass of water. The thoughtfulness and sweetness totally outweighed the mess.

Abigail brought me an arm full of weeds flowers and declared, "HAPPY BALEMTIMES DAY!"

Nathan has been running up to me all day saying, "mmmmmm" Which is how he gives his kisses.

My heart is so full of love for these precious children today. I am so grateful they are all mine... well I guess I can share them with Aaron. But I know they were Heavenly Father's before they were mine. And I feel completely honored that He trusts me with these amazing spirits.

Monday, February 11, 2013

To make you smile on a Monday

The other day we were picking up Aunt Emily from school early because she was feeling a little sad about some high school drama. I told my kids we were going to take her out for an ice cream cone to cheer her up.

Abigail piped up, "Can I get an ice cream cone too? Because I'm sad too... I'm sad because....because... because I don't have an ice cream cone!"

Best logic ever.

Then over the weekend we were babysitting for a friend who has a 3 month old baby. Nathan was so NOT happy about the new baby. He is a jealous kid! The best part was when Aaron was holding the baby and Ammon was holding Nathan. Nate looked baby, looked at Aaron, and then pointed at the baby and while looking at Aaron did his sign for "hands off'". Total serious face. Just hands off! It made us all laugh. I love that he's getting so good at communicating what he wants.

And then today Olivia went for a walk outside. It was pretty cold. Ya know like 50 degrees, or something. She came back and told me, "Mom it's so cold out there! It's practically like a blister." I chuckled and asked, "A blister, huh?" And in her matter-of-fact-duh-mom-voice, she replied, "Yeah a blister. Ya know. Blisters are really cold, and it's almost like a blister out there."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How To Survive Three Kids In Under 4 Years

Lately I've had a few people ask me how I stay sane with three little kids at home. My first response is, "You think I'm sane?! I knew I loved you." And then I tell them this,

Lower you expectations. 

Like low, low, low expectations.

As in, last week Olivia could only find one of each of her sneakers. Fortunately for us they were a left and a right, so she wore mismatched shoes for a week!

Yesterday we went to the park and Abigail couldn't find her shoes. So she went barefoot. Nathan also had 4 blow out poopy nasty diapers and literally didn't have anymore clean pants. So he sported a onsie, sans pants. This is when I'm extremely grateful to be living in Arizona, so that this is an option in February. (Of course we usually aim to have shoes and pants on to leave the house, but sometimes afternoons are SO crazy it just doesn't matter).

Some moms don't let their kids watch more than 30 minutes of TV a day. Some moms make homemade snacks and organic lunches. Some moms take their kids to story time on Tuesdays and the museum on Fridays and they homeschool and teach their children the Gospel and they never yell... Some moms run 5 miles every morning, do their hair and make up every day and their houses are spotless. They do playschool groups and cute crafts with their kids. They sew their own clothes in their spare time. They cook gourmet dinners and always have fresh baked cookies in the cookie jar.

Don't put those expectations on yourself just because someone else seems to have it all together. Some days my kids don't watch TV at all, but some days they watch HOURS. Sometimes I make rockin' snacks and lunches. But most days they get cereal two times a day. Outings to museums and libraries are just starting to become more regular around here, now that Nathan is almost 14 months. But if you see me in public and I look like I have it all together, look a little closer. Odds are you will notice mismatched socks, unbrushed hair, and/or a stinky diaper.

See what I mean, LOW expectations! This also goes for sleep. If you go to bed with the expectation of getting 8 hours of sleep you are going to be one grumpy mama when a baby wakes up crying for whatever reason. I have found I can function on 5 straight hours. I aim for a bit more, but I don't get angry and grumpy anymore if it's less.  I keep telling myself that all of this is so temporary. Before I know it these kids will be taking care of themselves and I will finally have a clean house and a decent nights sleep. Until then we'll stick with low expectations.

Another major key to my sanity is my husband. He really does take great care of me and our little zoo. Every Wednesday night I take off and he takes over bedtime. I go to a class where I'm spiritually nourished and I look forward to this all week. (And while I'm bragging about Aaron I should tell you about my amazing weekend. On the phone with my friend and my girls bring me roses and a paper that has an agenda on it. The agenda reads: Shop, Massage, Dinner, Hotel. I was so confused. Hung up and looked at Aaron. What? We are leaving right now?! You guys, you have no idea how much I needed that. So his wonderful, amazing sister took over and we took off. It was a great, recharging wonderful 24 hours.)

And my third piece of advice is to pray. I don't care who you pray to, but seriously there needs to be some divine intervention to make it through most days. I swear my kids just have a death wish. Sometimes I feel like my full time job is just keeping them alive! Or at least out of the emergency room. I can't tell you how many times I'm stopping one kid from sticking a fork in an electric socket and the other one is about to fall down the stairs. I really think my kids have angels around them that keep them safe when I can't. Because by some miracle that child doesn't fall down the stairs, he somehow manages to fall away from the stairs. And then I have enough time to grab him and put up the baby gate. Or some other similar situation. Prayer also just helps me have my own personal peace. I am more calm and happy when I say my prayers.

So I obviously don't have it all together, but I feel like I'm finally (14 months later) finding a bit of a groove. I feel like I can't do it all, but I'm okay with that because I can do something.