Second Story Resolutions

“Your world is so loud” I heard echo in my head as i sunk deeper into my bath filled to capacity with steaming hot water, Epsom salt for aching joints and essential oils for an overstimulated nervous system. 

I was tired today.  Not the ‘mom tired’.  The ‘viral tired’.  They’re different.  To survive the afternoon, I partook of a little, tiny container of a white bottle labeled “ENERGY” in bold, red letters.  The contents of this little white bottle were my salvation today and my clean house and nutritious dinner on the table were proof of its efficacy.  I don’t take them often and it had been long enough for my body to forget how to regulate itself under their influence.  

I was a happy, interested, patient, fun, and effective mom all afternoon.  In my contentedly busy state, I forgot to eat.  All day.  By 2:30 I was being reminded that my body was craving nourishment and my shaky shoulders and buzzing head were trying to remind me to stop.  sit.  eat.  breath.  be.   I ignored them both in the name of productivity.  

The older kids got home from school and the beehive became very busy.  By dinnertime I was a twitching, nervous, overstimulated, couldn’t-stand-a-single-unnecessary-sound, mess.  I faked patience until I couldn’t fake it any longer.  I threw up my hands after I took my last bite of red cabbage slaw, hugged my husband really tight and told him I was out.  Off the clock.  About ready to lose my marbles because the energy drink buzz, combined with the buzz of our hive was proving to be too much for my close-to-the-surface nervous system.  

I climbed in while the steaming water was blasting out of the spout, and relaxed to the loud gurgle of the water filling the tub.  As soon as it was full, I turned the water off, sighed a deep sigh and closed my eyes.  The kids were downstairs and even from the safe distance of the second story, behind a closed door, and in the darkened recesses of the master bathroom, I could still hear them.  I could still feel them.  Their intensity.  Major was crying.  Lennon was arguing about bedtime.  Piper was loudly debating life’s purpose with Crue (or why it’s not okay to pass gas in one’s face at the dinner table, or ever), and Crayton was singing loudly a happy tune, just for the sake of being heard amidst the noise and chaos of dinnertime cleanup.  Ryan was the Drum Major attempting to bring them all back into harmony.  For me, even from the safe distance, it was too much.  

I hurled myself out of the hot water and walked into the closet, dripping wet and suddenly in desperate need of ear plugs.  I searched through Ryan’s Hulk Hogan change jar where, for some unknown reason, there are usually a pair or two of ear plugs among the pennies and quarters and business cards (don’t try and figure any of that out.  I’ve tried and you can’t. Hulk, earplugs in change jars...no sense, i tell you), and came up empty handed.  I hurried over to the linen closet and figured I would find a pillow case to wrap around my head to drown out the intense buzz coming from the first story.  Instead, I was greeted by a bag of cotton balls when I opened up the closet.  Perfect.  

I took a cotton ball and ripped it into two pieces and shoved them down into my ears.  It was better but I could still hear the hive hum.  More muffled but ever chaotic.    

Still, I closed my eyes, relaxed my head back on my towel, and tried to relax but the noise was still too much.  I took the cotton out and dipped the two pieces into the water, rolled them into earplug shaped salvation and shoved them back into my ears. With the airiness now taken from the cotton, the noise was all but gone.  

That’s when I heard.  I heard me;  I heard my breathing, i heard my joints creak, i heard my heart beating, i heard my thoughts.  I heard me and that’s also when i heard her.

At the hospital where Major was born, there was a lovely lady whose employ it was to check the hearing of all of the newborns born into their brief watch.  As she came into our room, it became apparent that she, herself, was hearing impaired.  She talked to us about being hearing impaired, and how different everything was since she decided to get cochlear implants.  She said that shortly after she had the devices implanted, she was walking down a silent hallway.  She kept hearing a clicking noise that was so loud.  She would stop and look around to see if she could pinpoint its source.  She said that it took her several stops before she realized that it was the little hard ends of her shoelaces that were clicking together, making “all that racket”.  That’s when she said it:  “Your world is so loud.”  

I’ve heard her voice in my head say that sentence at least a thousand times since that day.  It’s served as a reminder for me to turn off the television.  To unplug.  To quiet the radio in the car. It has certainly served to make sense of the sounds coming from the hive of kids that are the loudest little buzzers in the entire universe (it seems sometimes to me.)  

But tonight it was different, her reminder.  I heard her say it and she was talking about me.  ‘Your world’.  She was talking about the world inside of me.  The deepest recesses of me, in the second story, way up in my head, behind the closed doors, where I think my thoughts.  Sometimes that world, the one that screams at me to listen to it, is really loud.  

But i’ve been sipping my tonic labeled BUSY in big, red letters and ignoring all of the buzzing coming from that room inside of me.  Tonight, as I shut everyone else out, I listened to my own thoughts.  My own breathing.  My own heart.  And all that noisy buzzing came together to harmonize into an orchestra of intention for the coming year.  

I listened and realized that I need to pay a little bit more attention to the loud clicking shoelaces that are clicking the messages for me to heed that say ‘set some goals.’ ‘do some art.’ ‘be more disciplined.’ ‘don’t get lost in the hive.’  And, ‘for pete’s sake, avoid the little white bottles labeled ENERGY!  But if you can’t because there are days when you’re ‘viral tired’, by all means, drink it up.  Just don’t forget to stop. don’t forget to sit. don’t forget to breathe.  don’t forget to be.’

I think i should take baths more often.  


summertime and the livin is easy...and hard.

Today is the last day of school.  maybe thats why i’m a mess.  i usually hover somewhere between “i can’t wait for school to be over so that i can have my kids all to myself” and “oh crap. i get my kids all to myself all summer. i just need one more week of school so that i can get my life pulled together really quick.”

of course, they get out of school whether i’m ready or not and summer is always great and i never want them to go back to school when it’s time.  I think that life is kind of like that.  for me at least.  it’s a whole bunch of moments of feeling unprepared and looking back and realizing that i was a.) more prepared than i realized or b.) more unprepared than i thought and things worked out anyway. 

sometimes when i pass through the den in my home and stop for a moment to look at the photo snap shots that float across the screen of my computer, i see the twinkles and excitement and the happiness and contentment in the eyes of my kids.  Of course, it would be really nice to be more prepared; for vacations, for dinner, for heartaches, for decisions, for growth, for failures, for laundry, for fun, for them.  i’m sure that mostly only good things could come of it- my preparedness.  but the fact of the matter is this:  i’m doing the best i can.  in the moment, i’m usually too busy being hard on myself to see that.  or to accept that.  in fact, before i sat down to write for a minute, i was looking at the pictures on the screen, with my arms full of weeks of dirty clothes, thinking to myself, “i really wish i took more pictures. i really wish i knew how to take good pictures.  look at those moments. i’m so glad i have those moments to look back at.  what about all of the ones i’ve missed?  and why don’t i do laundry more often?”

i don’t know if it’s just me, and if i’m just a jumble of imbalances (feel free to not answer that question) but my journey of motherhood is such a constant juxtapostiton of happy and sad and better and worse and up and down and frustration and joy.  it’s all going on at the exact same time- side by side.  which is an intense amount of feelings for one little, old me to carry.  

So maybe i’m a mess because today’s the last day of school.  or maybe i’m not a mess at all.  but a mama, whose heart is so full of a desire to be better that she forgets that in lots of ways, she already is.  

i guess the long and short of it is that summer has arrived.  and i think what i’m trying to say is bring it on.  because i couldn’t feel more (un)prepared.


Lennon's Little Light

                            This is Lennon's Baptism invitation.  

She is such a little ray of sunshine in our lives.  We love her.  We love her presence in our home.  Often times, it's just quiet and comforting to have her around.  She quietly looks for opportunities to serve and help people who need help.  Sometimes, she loudly looks for opportunities to shine and be seen.  Sometimes in this family you have to make a ruckus to be noticed.  She is mastering the little balancing act of seeing and being seen beautifully at the tender age of almost 8.  She is a gift to us.  Always has been.  Alway will be. What an earthly angel I received when i birthed this beautiful little human being. My heart is full of gratitude as i reflect on her birth and life thus far.  


Writing Assignment #1

                                                              ***beautiful photo credit http://teckeltales.blogspot.com***

This year, for my birthday Ryan signed me up for a writing class.  It's online and pretty interesting so far.  It's just getting started so we'll see how it goes.  i did my first assignment yesterday.  It was an invigorating little exercise.  We had to pick a color and write as if we were that color.  It had to be 250 words or less.  I'm going to post my assignments here if I liked doing them and found them to be a source of creative pleasure.  Maybe i'll go back and do them again if i am ever feeling stagnant.  Who am i kidding?  when i am feeling stagnant.  

Follow me to earth. I will beckon you out of your mother's cozy womb.  I will show you nourishment at your first drink in this life.  I will teach you to be playful and inquisitive when you watch me slowly spread and drip off of the ends of a table when chubby toddler fingers knock the cup of my whiteness over at meal time.  Laugh and splash and be joyful.  Then learn from me Diligence, as you are taught to clean up the messes we sometimes make.  I will teach you to be strong and distinguished when you see me donning a pointed collar and I will ask you to be reflectively soft when I blow with the flow of a breeze on a clothes line or in the sheer cloth of summer’s linen dress.  I will plead with little chocolate fingers and ketchup faces to snuggle deep into me when I cover mommy’s bed with my soft downy fluff.  They will learn comfort.  She will learn patience and wisdom.  Learn from me Respect.  I will slowly turn from brown to Silvery White on the heads of those who know more than you. Learn from their experience. My whiteness on their crown will be your cue to listen.  I am the color of the Whiteness of Light. Follow me out of this life and I will beckon you into Heaven’s open arms. 


Leibster Leibster Leibster steps 1, 2, and 3.

Well, who says i never win stuff? Probably no one. It's not something that presses too heavily on my mind so i don't think about it often, or ever. hopefully my lack of winning isn't keeping you up at night. anyways, that being said, for me, one win, just one, carries me on a cloud of happiness for quite awhile.  and today my friend Heidi, nominated me for the Leibster Award. Apparently Leibster means favorite in German. I'm honored and flattered and honestly, am grateful that with this nomination comes a list of things to write about. i'm a little rusty. 

without further ado...here are the conditions and rules.

             1.  Post 11 random things about myself.
     2.  Answer the 11 questions my nominator set for me.
     3.  Create 11 questions for my nominees.
     4.  Nominate 11 other bloggers with fewer than 200       followers (no tag-backs).
     5.  Go to each of their blogs to tell them about their nominations.

tap tap tap...this thing on? Okay, let's go.  

Random facts:

1. i found mushrooms growing in my bathroom last week.  long story. (long story short, we probably need a new shower.)

2. i always draw a heart on my thumb nail with my index finger when i'm bored or nervous. 

3. i don't like hearts. i.e. heart inspired art, heart inspired clothing, heart inspired jewelry. 

4. i used to always count stairs when i would go up or down them.  i don't know when i stopped but i did. and i'm glad.

5. i take approximately 14 supplements per day. they keep me going and sometimes make me nauseous. 

6. i yearn for structure and self discipline like nobody's business.  

7. last week, i told a cricket to get out of my kitchen before ryan found him and he lost his life. he didn't listen and the kids found him the very next night. i went upstairs and plugged my ears while crayton did the deed. 

8. sometimes i wonder if i'm crazy. who talks to crickets?

9.  Little kid's long fingernails gross me out. like really gross me out. i carry clippers in my car and diaper bag. i have cut the nails of children i don't know very well.

10. i have a favorite swear word. it never ceases to feel good saying it. i know shouldn't have a favorite swear word. i am working on it. sort of. most of the time. 

11. i have always yearned for a country life. hard work, open air, dirt roads, animal smells, old house, barn, horses, no goats(!), chickens, and a cow. (12. i've always wanted a cow)

Heidi's 11 Questions for me:

1.  When was the last time you brushed your teeth?
Today at 3:30. for the record, that was the 2nd time. 

2.  How many days per week do you make your bed?

approximately .5 times.

3.  What does the last text you received say?

"I meant yummmmm"

4.  If you could do anything you wanted for a day, what would that be?

that's a tough one. it depends on the day. i would probably spend the day planning and carrying out a way to do what ever i wanted to for a month. kind of like wishing for more wishes from the genie. 

5.  Are most of your friends real or virtual?

most of my friends are real in every sense of the word. i have wonderfully beautiful people in my life. whether it's a hello in the hallway at church, a wave in the school pickup line, or a heart to heart conversation with a loved one, i value the people that i am surrounded by and count them as dear, real friends. 

6.  With how many adults have you spoken in person today?

one. two if you count my husband telling me goodbye this morning, and hello-goodbye as he got home from work and immediately left again. 

7.  What did you have for lunch (or your last meal) today?

i grilled some hamburgers. cut some carrots and celery sticks. baked some cauliflower wings (recipe at www.skinnytaste.com. and whipped up some homemade greek yogurt bleu cheese dressing(also at www.skinnytaste.com) delicious. 

8.  If you could go to lunch with anyone, with whom would you dine?

i've said it before and i'll say it again. Dolly Parton. all the way. 

9.  Are you hungry yet?  Or craving grown-up conversation?

i'm pretty much always hungry. and i'm not craving grown-up conversation because i'm tired and ready to climb into bed and watch my dvr list until i fall asleep.

10.  If your toenails are painted, what color are they?

usually some shade of red with coral undertones. but right now they are a dark chocolate brown with gold flecks. they've been painted over approximately 3 times. probably time for a pedicure. 

11.  What's your favorite Gavin story?

any post with a gavin video or picture makes me smile. that child is a precious, precious light in this world. i loved the 'church according to gavin' post. made me see the chapel through his eyes;). 

well, friends, my time here is done. i need to tag some people but have officially run right out of energy to look up blogs and tag people. when i do come back and tag you tomorrow, as heidi said,  don't feel like you have to do a big old post like this to accept your Liebster Award.  Just post the picture and know that I love ya!  If you'd like, it would be fun for me to read your random facts and see your answers to my silly questions. If you don't get tagged because my follow through known to be pathetic, especially in, but not limited to, this blogging arena, feel free to leave me a comment with your answers. fun right? 

1.  how many run ins with law have you had?
2.  what's the first question you'll ask God when you see him?
3.  how would your best friend describe you in 10 words or less?
4.  where in the world do you most want to visit? for how long?
5.  pets? no pets? pet peeves? 
6.  dream dinner date: who with? where? what's on the menu? 
7.  dream career (besides motherhood)?
8.  If you could go to lunch with anyone, with whom would you dine?
9.  what are your top 5 favorite books? 
10.  beach or mountains?
11.  if you could pick one car or vehicle to drive as your very own, no kids involved per se, (so it doesn't matter if they fit) what would it be?


Snuggles Pillow Soft and Deep...Baby Major Goes to Sleep.

Dear Major,

It’s the holiday season, which means a few things.  One of those things is that our family is really busy.  You’ve been pretty busy too these days.  

Ever since you were born, i have wondered how your childhood will be different than your brothers and sisters.  You are deprived of naps sometimes because the big kids need rides from here to there.  

You get played with a lot, though.  And nurtured like crazy.  You have lots of mamas and daddy’s.  Everyone in our family thinks you’re hilarious and too cute for words.  You get doted on a lot.  

Around 5:30 p.m., however, most everyone in the family tries our best to ignore you, but it’s hard.  Because you scream a lot from about 5:30-8:00. Nothing makes you happy and you let all of us know that in very loud and angry ways.  And at 8:00 you become so darn cute and funny again that daddy won’t put you to bed.  

Anyways... I sat down to type this to you because this morning we, me and you, dropped the kids off at school and by the time we got home, you were almost asleep in your carseat. When i came in the house, carrying your heavy, sleepy, baby-self, i didn’t want to put you down.  

So i didn’t.  

Normally, i would lay you down in your bed and make sure that you napped at maximum capacity.  

Not today.  

I snuggled you and we read stories.  Llama Llama, Red Pajama.  You love that book.  

You insisted on wearing your green froggy hooded towel the whole time.  You also found the binky that you got in the hospital when you were born.  You wanted to suck on that one instead of your normal bink.   

After the story, you were so still and so calm.  I watched you suck your bink and relax to the point where it almost fell right out.  You saved it though, every time.  Sucking it right back in and letting your eyes fall heavy and relaxed with each save.  

You were snuggled so perfectly to me, like art.  You felt weightless.  

I kissed the bridge of your nose lots of times.  Finding comfort in the fact that my lips still fit in the curve perfectly, indicating to my heart that you are, indeed, still a baby.  When the bridge of your brothers and sisters noses started to straighten and harden, i knew that babyhood was about to come to a close.  But today, yours is curved and your button baby nose is still as kissable as ever.  I’m so glad. 

I love you, my sweet baby.

I’m so glad that the busy didn’t stop me from snuggling you today.  Every single one of these moments are why i am on earth.  I wouldn’t trade one single one of them for anything.  Except for maybe more moments just like today.

Keep tight, sweet boy.




5 minutes of (not so) deep thoughts

 of 8

I’ve given myself 5 minutes to sit here and write down whatever comes to mind.  Brace yourself.  Sometimes my filter gets really unpredictable when i’m in a hurry...

i’ve started running again.  it feels so great and terrible.  Best of times and worst of times.  I’ve noticed that when i am running and focused on positive thoughts, the pain in my body almost completely disappears.  I’m going to run the ragnar relay race in February.  My leg of the race is a total of 17 miles or something like that.  I look forward to finishing it and feeling really brave and strong.  I almost didn’t commit.  I almost thought of a lot of a million excuses why this isn’t a good idea for me.  Bravery won out though and so the training has begun and the small victories are so sweet.  

i’m up to just over 2 miles which is not very far.  when i start thinking about how far i have to go to be able to accomplish this goal, i get discouraged and terrified but am reminded to focus on progress.  on pace.  i have so much to learn through this exercise of pace.  so for now i celebrate my little successes.  this passed (past? I never know) tuesday night, i ran the 2+ mile stretch and it felt really good.  i was sweating like an NBA all star and breathing like an asthmatic kid who just went from couch potato to hiking the grand canyon with no preparation, but it felt good.  i didn’t want to die at all.  and not wanting to die is such a great feeling.  

Also going on... i’ve been packing up to go to Big Bear California for fall break.  Usually, for me the packing and prep wouldn’t start until tomorrow, the day before we leave.  I’m a really accomplished procrastinator so i thought i would challenge myself and try something new.  I started packing early this week.  The kids were all packed by tuesday.  Food is almost all purchased.  yesterday I baked a quadruple batch of pumpkin muffins, a double batch of special interest cookies, a double batch of freezer burritos, and dinner for yesterday.  So, i have a bit of food prep to finish up but i am getting the food packed today.  I don’t know if there is global cooling going on in hell or something but we don’t leave for days and i’m almost ready to go.  So, maybe it’s close to the end of days or something because this has never. ever. happened.  Get your generators out folks and hunker down.  

On a (un) hilarious note:  I wonder if true shifts are going on around here. We’ll really be able to tell if Ryan can hold his tongue when we are packing the car. Usually he says things like “babe, why didn’t you do _______ like this (his way)? (like 20 times)(when he has been working like a crazy person and hasn’t been home at all and has been unable to participate in preparing for this trip in any fashion.) (which really is fine and i am so grateful for his hard work, just not his “suggestions” after the packing is done and we are walking out the door.)  Or when he says “We don’t need any creature comforts in the car.  Put your pillows and blankets back!”  Wherein i object and get mad because we then spend at least 1/2 of any car ride listening to really tired kids yearn loudly for a pillows and blankets.  I’ve got it down to being ticked for only 20-60 minutes tops though.  I have also learned that i can’t stay mad while i’m listening to Don Williams so i need to remember to pack my cd.  I also like earplugs on car rides.  Love her or hate her, but i learned that trick from Kate Gosselin.  anyways, Ryan’s lucky that i’m so self aware... (and by self aware i mean that i know i get mad about stupid stuff before we go on trips)

Crue is home from school today.  He has been diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.  What is that you ask?  I’m not totally sure.  I know it involves cycles of vomiting in the form of a syndrome.  It‘s a wonder i’m not a doctor.  it really is.  I do know that it is usually caused by abdominal migraines.  Which cause pain in the tummy and are different from plain old tummy aches in ways i don’t understand.  More information to follow when i know what i am talking about.  All i need to know today is that Crue is home, his symptoms are very mild this time (hallelujah), and having him here makes me happy.  He still says the best stuff and hardly ever argues.  Just begs for food, which if i am being completely honest, is the one thing i don’t miss while he’s at school all day.  Feeding that kid is exhausting.  

Alright my 5 minutes are up.  Over and out.