Tuesday, April 30, 2013

pillow talk

I have noticed something about Emma: she loves adult conversation. She prefers to listen to the adults than to play with her friends sometimes. I remember being the same way as a kid.

We have hit a milestone - finally, ALL of our kids are in bed within about 20 minutes of each other. It is a little crazy (especially for me doing it alone), but then it is all done. Emma would stay up reading until midnight every night if I let her, so Sadie's earlier and earlier bedtime was definitely infringing on her reading time. Now that Sadie goes to bed before Emma she has a hard time reading. So, we have replaced it. I put Sadie down and while she fusses for a minute and settles in, I lay with Emma and we talk. Well, whisper. About whatever she wants. I should have known how meaningful this was to Emma, but the other night I had Young Women and she asked if I would be home in time for us to have "our talks."

So what do we talk about? According to Emma, "girl drama." I so don't miss elementary school drama, where people are friends one day and mortal enemies the next. I know a lot about her classmates, and their families, boys ("stupid boys"), and fashion, etc. Now that I know just how much it means to her I make more of an effort.

It's helpful that I enjoy and like her so much. It is sometimes like talking to a friend.

Monday, April 22, 2013


There is something rewarding in being part of a team.

We really push team sports in this family. We have toyed around with putting the kids into other things, just to try (like Emma in gymnastics), but we always come back to keeping them on teams as much as possible.

Two weeks ago at Tyler's baseball game his team was down by 1 run. We were at bat. There were two outs. Tyler was up. Pressure! I said to Spencer, "Do you think he realizes how important this right now?" I thought about yelling to Tyler just how important his turn was...but Spencer held me back, not wanting Tyler to have such added pressure in that moment. He ended up hitting and barely getting onto first base before being tagged. The bases were loaded and - go figure - the next batter struck out. One successful hit would have put our runner in to tie the game, and our next batter to have been up is the most consistent on the team, almost always hitting a double or triple. We could have won.

But that didn't matter. It was so exciting - we had already come back from being down 9-2. The last two innings were so close and it was probably (to date) my most favorite game to watch. No one on the team got upset with the boy who struck out. The coaches congratulated each player. No one felt at fault for not pulling their weight. There were no "what ifs" according to the players and coaches. And Tyler even got the game ball. I can't describe my pride in those moments. Every time he wins a game ball Spencer and I BOTH have to hold back tears. About something so insignificant (seemingly) as a baseball!

I've been thinking about our family as a team recently. How we don't (shouldn't) yell and holler when one person makes a mistake. How, instead, we can say "nice try" and pick each other up and move on. And there is still victory with every event. There is always a silver lining. There is always a game ball. I love that Tyler got the game ball from a game that they lost. He still played awesome and scored 3 RBIs. One setback isn't a failure. We can always find the good.

I want my kids to be there for each other. I want us all to always advocate for each other. This family thing is a team sport. We are not always at our best. We win, we lose, we get tired, we have moments of weakness. But we cheer for each other no matter what. One of our coaches is named Macie. I often wonder if she gets frustrated with us. Does she ever have to bite her tongue? It's an interesting thought. My head can get spinning if I think too long and hard about that.

For now, during the long baseball season, I am so pleased with team sports. Some of the best lessons are learned on the field. I love what it is teaching Tyler. But really, what it is teaching all of us in this game of life.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5 months

Oh Sadie. I love this girl with my entire heart. Truly. I feel like she is so much a part of me, more than any of my other kids is physically part of me. And, she mostly just likes me. I do not exaggerate that. And while this is so so hard for me, there is that one part of me that feels like it is sweet. Spencer says when she asks him for money someday he will remind her that she wanted nothing to do with him when she was a baby. (Actually, the last few days she has become more pleasant. I even like her! I need to remember that months 2-5 were nearly impossible, and at 5 months old it got a little easier.)

Sadie slept pretty well until about 4 months old. Then she wigged out. She was waking me up at least twice, and because she shares a room and we all are pretty close I couldn't let her cry for too long (more than 30 or so minutes). Sometimes I let her cry and sometimes I get her and feed her just because it is easier (in the short run, not the long). I am frustrated with myself because I'm not consistent, and frustrated with everyone because I am just so tired, and frustrated with her because she has regressed bigtime and is now worse than a newborn. I've got to figure her out! The only thing consistent about her (specifically about sleeping) is her inconsistency. No two nights have ever been the same, not even.

All my kids need constant stimulation and attention as babies, but Sadie is just a little priss! If I hold her she will be happy all day long. But we have places to go (read: she isn't being held in the car, heaven forbid) and I have dishes to do and dinner to make, and homework to help with, so she spends some time screaming her guts out. I thought she would adjust as she got older. She will sit in her saucer for about 10 minutes before turning into a crazy woman. Let's just say I would never describe her as calm and content. Not even close.

But! Sadie's smile can light up a room. Her eyes are gorgeous and blue and sparkly, her smile is perfect, and her fat legs are scrumptious. Her dad teases that she probably has oreos in her rolls. She doesn't roll over yet but I am more focused on getting her to sit up. I have a glimmer of hope that she will become slightly independent when she can sit and play with toys.

My friend Carrie said, "She has to be feisty. Kids have to be like that these days." That makes a lot of sense to me too. I want her to be independent and stubborn as she gets older. I want her to have a strong mind and personality, to stand up for herself, to stand firm for what is right. So I guess I can take it now.

At 4 1/2 months old she weighed 15 lbs 3 oz. She was 24 inches long, so she is pretty much long and wide (80th percentile). I still find it so ironic that my smallest baby, who tried to come the earliest, is now the biggest.

As much as she is super demanding, I am so thankful for her. I am glad she'll be the last one home with us. I am glad she forces me to be an attentive mom. I am grateful she is keeping me in line. I am glad she's our last baby...because we will go through these milestones with a bang. As her personality is starting to show more, I get a thrill wondering and guessing what she will be like. I am excited for the next 18 years with her. And beyond.

Friday, April 5, 2013


When Emma was 15 months old and I was 5 months pregnant with Tyler, we went to Washington DC in April. I find it funny that what I most remember from that trip was Emma having a total blowout while we were in Arlington National Cemetery and I had to change her next to the headstones on our walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
(Just because I happened to find an old picture from that trip, here it is. I was pale and Spencer looks so young!)

And perhaps what I will remember most from this most recent Spring Break camping trip is that Sadie cried. MAN, that girl cries. My parents say it is payback because I cried all the time as a baby, but this makes my 3rd that cries constantly (though Sadie takes the cake for the worst). Last week Tanner finally said, "Mom. Sadie is just crying because she misses Macie." He said it so matter-of-factly that I told him he was probably right. So that is what I will choose to believe. Because it just may keep me from killing her. (I won't even go into what a horrible sleeper she is, because in a year that won't matter and she will be a perfect angel like my other kids.)

Anyway, this is not about Washington DC and messy diapers, or about crying babies. I hope I can remember everything else - the fun stuff - about our 2-day trip. I hope I can remember how hard Spencer works when we take the motorhome out (because I complain about "all the work"), how much planning he puts into each detail of our itinerary, how Tanner thinks everything is so exciting and how he called himself "Rescue Tanner" the whole time, and how my big kids are such a big help. We went to Point Reyes national seashore, because it was relatively close (gas prices are crazy, people!) and because we haven't been there yet. I got anxiety just thinking about having all six of us (but mostly just Sadie) in the motorhome.

We got there late on Easter night, and the recent rain had left lots of mud. Pretty much saw nothing driving in, and went to bed. The next day we explored the outside of the point, where the lighthouse is and where Drakes Bay/Beach is. We were determined to see a gray whale, and when we heard that 35 had been spotted the day before we felt confident. After looking for a few minutes we decided we weren't going to wait around. So no whale sightings. The lighthouse was meh and we had two huge, steep ramps and 320 stairs to walk back up. Emma was the animal here and powered up those stairs holding our bags. Spencer had a Tanner on his back and I had a Sadie on my front, and I think we are both just a little out of shape.

We drove over to Drake's Bay and while I fed Sadie everyone else went to see the elephant seals. When I was in the car a coyote got really really close.

My poor baby got a little sunburned.

Spencer and the other 3 kids went to an Indian Reservation. 4 of the 6 of us fell asleep in the motorhome for a late afternoon nap. I woke up drooling - gross.

Spencer made a fire and we did foil dinners and dutch oven cobbler. Spencer is perfecting the art of the dutch oven. Sadie kept me up all night.

The next day we decided to actually use the bikes we had brought. Because it was a really bumpy trail I kept sadie in the Bjorn and we walked the trail while everyone else rode. It was quiet, but I enjoyed the quiet as she slept against me and as I wrapped my sweater around her. Those quiet moments are few and far between, and it was great to have my thoughts to just myself for about 30 minutes.

(That thing has been the best purchase ever.)

We packed up the motorhome and headed back. I drove the van alone (!!) and left Emma in charge of the two littles in the motorhome. I do not and will not ever drive that beast. Apparently it went really well in there. Of course it did. (She slept on Emma.)

Just because things are hard and take a TON of work and patience doesn't mean they aren't fun or worthwhile. This is something I need to remind myself. Sadie can't cry all the time forever (right?) but this is a time I sure enjoy in spite of that.

Spring Break. I love it. Whether on the East Coast or on the West.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


We have two azaela plants that bloom every year in the beginning of April. When Easter is late in April they are looking rather sorry by that point. With Easter early this year, they weren't quite in full bloom.

We always take our Easter pictures in front of the pink one. As the kids get older/taller we see fewer blooms.

Sadie's thighs are just awesome. I can't help but smile and pinch them. My first CHUNK.

Growing up we had an Easter dress/Easter tie tradition. I am trying that in my family. I think. I will do better next year. (This year Spencer got a new tie and Emma and I had new clothes.)

We clearly need to spend more than 3 seconds posing ourselves. I know better.

Love my cute family.