Wednesday, June 1, 2016

An Adventure

I haven't written here for a long time. Like. A year. More than a year. And it's not because of lack of material. You know. I still have four kids. Adorable, hilarious, mischievous kids.

But I've been busy. Like everyone is. We built a house. (You remember that.) And then Brad and a friend started a business. And then in December 2014, I started teaching voice lessons four nights a week from 3:30-8:00 at a local dance studio. I also taught a musical theater class there. Grace and Claire were there with me and took dance lessons (for free, since I was staff). They developed a real love for dance. Brad was able to be home with the little kids usually. But we never ate dinner together except for weekends. 

During the day, I edited photos or worked on the website or took clients for my photography business (www.essentiallychicphotography.com). That business was also crazy busy. During the summer my partner and I photographed soccer and softball. During the school year we took yearbook photos for the charter school and local preschools. And then of course we were shooting the usual weddings, families, babies and seniors. 

And then I was busy at church. 

And then I was still homeschooling. Because if the kids went to school and right afterward I went to work at the studio, I would never see them. To facilitate this, Aside from my kids' schoolwork, I hosted a 6 family homeschooling co-op at my house once a week. So homeschooling was busy. 

And then I had a house to take care of. It probably should have been at least tidied once a day. If I'd had time for that kind of thing. And there was the yard that was just under an acre. With 40 trees that needed to be watered. And a dog. A dog who had two large litters of puppies (25 puppies total) last year. 

And finally. Brad's work started changing. Instead of doing construction work around town, Brad's business started hiring electricians and working on big electrical contracts in other states. So Brad was taking monthly (or more) business trips to Colorado. And Kansas. And elsewhere. And because I was still teaching voice in the evenings, I had to find someone to babysit my youngest kids while I worked. 

We were busy. 

One night last year I remember coming home late after voice lessons. It had been a particularly stressful week. Brad had been watching the two youngest kids and Grace and Claire had come home from dance with me. I pulled into the driveway and Grace and Claire hopped out of the car. I watched them run into the house. And I sat in the driveway. Just sitting. For a minute. Because there was no other time to sit. I saw Brad walk out of the house toward my car. I grabbed my purse and got ready to get out of the car because I assumed that he needed help getting the kids to bed. He opened my door, and reached in and hugged me. And he just hugged me. For several minutes. It was like coming up for air. We were both so stressed. 

If I were to sum up life in one word, that word would be: stress. 

And I know that a lot of you do this life. Every day. And you're still able to discipline your children and make dinner and have family time and scripture study and mop your floors. Props to you people. You have my undying admiration. And envy. I wish I were like you. But I have learned that I am not great at multi-tasking. I have tunnel vision. And it is very hard for me to focus on anything else if I have a deadline. So sometimes the most important things didn't get done because I was focused on work. Or I was focused on the next appointment or business meeting. 

One day Brad and I were sitting around talking about what to do with our lives. We do this a lot. outcomes of this meeting are life goals like: move to Alaska. And build a climbing wall in our backyards. You know. Important stuff. Brad had been gone 15 days that month. And. Well that just stinks. And maybe with that on the brain I just said, "what if we bought a trailer and lived in it and followed you around?"

And it sounded about as probable as moving to Alaska. Except we couldn't stop thinking about it.

Two weeks later Brad brought home our new home. 

I know there will be problems with living in a trailer. Many of my friends have told me that I will go completely crazy. And my sister has mentioned that most families spend their lives working to ensure that their family WON'T have to live in a trailer. 😂 True. But we've just finished up our first week in a trailer. We haven't even left our city yet. And it's pretty awesome--I'm not gonna lie. 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Public Display

On this Valentine's Day, I am going to post something that I started on Valentine's Day, 2012, but never had the guts to post. Because I try to avoid PDA. On the internet. Kissing in public is totally okay with me.

But, in the spirit of the day, I will divulge the half-baked tid-bit I wrote three years ago:
I don't know how to talk about Brad. I have been trying all day and I can't. Anything I try comes out too cheesy, too personal, too braggy. I write strictly humor and misery. I do not deal in joy. And so I have no tools to convey my feelings.
So I will just say this: 
When I started to date, I remember being advised to "date someone that makes you want to be a better person."
I didn't realize that as a guilt-addicted perfectionist, my drive to be a better person was already--by itself--enough to propel me through several lifetimes of improvement. Well, improvement and maybe severe depression. Brad was the only man I dated that made me want to be me. With him I am comfortable in my own skin.
Happy Valentine's Day to the man who calls himself "the luckiest" after he's come home from a long day at work and the kids are running loops around the stairs, screaming, and dinner is not done, and I'm still wearing pajama pants and a sweatshirt.

He obviously has it backwards.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hide and Go Seek

If you follow me on Instagram, maybe you remember this year-old gem:
That is Rose. At my feet. She is either insisting to be held since the dinner-making which is requiring my attention is significantly less important than her, OR, she is objecting to the disgustingness which she will soon refuse to eat at dinner time.

Either way, it was not super fun. 

These days, Rose has a new tactic. The minute I approach the stove or the sink, or (heaven-forbid) the kitchen-aid, the child runs to my legs. She clings on for dear life. And with a sweet smile she pleads, "Mommy, ho' ju."  It's a pretty hard request to deny. But it's also really hard to ignore the cries of three other starving children waiting for you to cook them breakfast. It's even harder to flip a pancake while holding a two year-old on your hip.

So.

I invented a new game. It's called "Hide Spiderman."

Observe:


Spiderman hides, and Rose spends 3-5 minutes looking for him (during which I cook, and add ingredients, and stir a little), she finds him and rejoices and jumps up and down, and then I hide him again.

This trick works so well that I'm spending more time in the kitchen. I've baked 6 loaves of bread this week. (The drawback is that I have eaten an entire loaf every day this week. So... I'm also growing a muffin top. Bonus.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I should probably post more.

Yesterday I was perusing all of my posts living in "draft" land. And I came across this number that I started last year, titled, "A Misunderstanding":
Last week I was standing at my kitchen island with a cup of applesauce in one hand, and a spoon in the other while I held Rose on my hip and tried to feed her. I do not recommend this feeding arrangement. Unless your end goal is to be covered in baby food, in which case, this is the method for you.
In addition to holding Rose while feeding her, I was also attempting to hold her hands to prevent her from glopping fruity handfuls of sauce into my shirt and eyebrows. This is impossible. But I am a mom and so I have to do it anyway.
All Moms should be octopuses.

Anyway, as I was wrestling Rose, I realized that Weston was trying to get my attention. It usually takes me a minute to realize that. I'm really only good at focusing on one thing at a time. Which is w
...and that is all she wrote, friends. And now, a year later, I have no inkling of how this story ends. Or even how that sentence was going to end.

Maybe: "Which is... why I never succeed at watching TV and folding laundry"? or "Which is... why my kids have to repeat themselves 2-3 times before I realize what they are saying"? or "Which is... why I am not the poster-child for awesome homeschooling mom"?

It's time to post more. Before my kids are all grown and my brain cells are gone and I turn around and wonder what the heck happened.

(And, let's be honest, I haven't set the bar too high... posting "more" means at LEAST three times a year.)


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just now, in my living room.

Brad has been throwing a ball at the kids. In my house. They are running away, loving to be terrorized.

Claire, watching the scene from our overstuffed chair, asked, "Dad, how do you throw so good?" (As you can see, my grammar lessons are really paying off.)

Brad replied, "I'm good at throwing. It's like my second best talent."

Claire quickly responded, "What's your first-best talent?"

"Loving mom," he said.

I die. I love that man.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Listening

Tonight was girls' night at our house. Dad and Weston are camping and I decided to take the girls on a rare trip to a fast food restaurant. Living on the wild side over here.

Somehow, with only those three kids, I was more present. More relaxed. And my kids started to talk. And they started to vent. And they started volunteering information that they'd been holding onto for months.

Grace in particular is a story-bottler. She'll tell the most bomb-shell stories during the most unexpected moments. Tonight she told me that while school was still in session (so who knows how many months ago this happened), her class was out at recess, and she and her friend were lifting their shirts up to show their bellies and sticking their stomachs out. (She didn't explain why they were doing this.) As they did this, a kid-who-I-will-begrudgingly-leave-unnamed-but-had-at-one-point-had-a-crush-on-Grace walked up to her and said, "You're already fat without doing that."

Flames. Flames... on the sides of my face...

On the inside, I want to murder that kid.

On the outside, I listened to Grace and then gave a mirthful laugh. And said, "I have never heard anything more ridiculous. Or stupid. Next time a kid says something like that to you, you have my permission to tell him he's stupid."

She was shocked.

I'm usually the parent who assumes that their own kid is to blame for everything. I'm not usually the type to tattle to parents about their children. When my children are mistreated or lightly bullied (don't stab me for taking bullying lightly), I generally tell them to suck it up and figure out a solution. I'm sort of heartless like that. I guess I figure that the world is a mean place and they have to learn to deal with stuff.

But I must be doing it wrong.

I want my kids to defend themselves against this crap.

And I want my kids to feel safe telling me. So I can wrap them up and love them and tell them that things are going to be okay. It's hard to do that when you find out months later.

Sometimes I really hate being an inadequate parent.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guess who actually did send out Christmas cards this year?

Me. I did.

That may surprise you. Because it's highly likely you didn't get one. That doesn't mean that I didn't put your name on one. What it means is that I am lazy. What it means is that I left for our Christmas vacation, packed my Christmas cards with addresses and stamps.... and then I actually went on vacation. And who remembers to mail cards on vacation?

Well I don't.

So don't hate me for posting a digital version.






If you still want the stamped card I have addressed to you in my still-packed Christmas vacation bags, and you won't call me tacky for sending a Christmas card right before Valentine's Day, leave a comment and I'll pop it in the mail.

Oh. And since I know you're wondering (since how could you not): I did get the bathroom mirrors up, and Brad finished our fireplace. (well, the carpentry, anyway. Nobody has time for paint.)