Friday, November 7, 2014

though she be but little, she is fierce

In true third child/youngest fashion Harper did not get a birthday blog. Today is November 7th and her birthday was on August 25th.  Oops!

In my defense my eldest child started kindergarten.  My brother and his wife, whom I am very close with, were moving to Iowa, my little heart could only handle two things that week.  My youngest turning THREE was not one of them.

So here I am, months later, writing about the day my baby wasn't really a baby anymore.  I don't know the exact age when that happens, but I am thinking it's somewhere around now.

She doesn't use a sound machine.

Five years of sound at night in our house and now it's gone.

She doesn't have a crib.

Five years of cribs and they are gone.

No middle of the night feedings or diaper changes, every now and again I can get a onesie jammy on her.  But for the most part, Harper is a kid.

A funny kid. Strong willed. Stubborn. Dramatic. Hilarious. Smiley. Pain in my ass. That's my Harpie.

Seriously though, she'll kill us. It might be from laughter, it might be from frustration, but we will die at the hands of HRP.

Last week she bold faced lied to me about Marc.  She then preceded to bold face lie to him about him.  Her story did not change even a little from the time she told me to the time she told Marc. Even a week later she's stuck with it.  It was all about Marc yelling at her one night to go to bed and how scary it was.  I was in the house, sitting next to Marc, when this apparent incident happened.  I knew for a fact it was a farce but I went along with it anyway because it was so hilarious.

I love her.  I love her so much I want to squish her face in my hands and kiss all over it. She's cuddly. Like super cuddly.  And I don't even like cuddles.  She still says, "I love chu" and I still melt every time.  It will be a tragedy when she actually starts to pronounce you.

Harper has long, beautiful, flowy white-blond hair. She hates to brush it and she always has food it in.  But it's SO HER. Sometimes she wears CJ's hand-me-downs, sometimes Gabe's, and sometimes it's a mismatch assortment of whatever she's found throughout the house. Pink sparkly boots are often the shoes of choice, even with shorts.

After Gabe had his seizure everyone around him was babying him.  Not Harper.  She used it as an opportunity to steal his toys and food...he was weak, she was strong, some may say she's opportunistic.

To my third bird, I love you!  Even if it took me months to celebrate your life via this blog I treasure you and the time you've been with us.  Your little itty bitty body is nothing compared to the size of your spirit and determination. Your big eyes and smile make me mushy, your tight hugs are infectious, and your laughter makes everything better. You embody everything I want to be: tough, smart, sweet, and loving.

I LOVE YOU.

And I have to quote music because duh, that's what I do.  When Harp was in my belly I was obsessed with Peter Gabriel's "Follow You, Follow Me"...so here you go...

"I will follow you, will you follow me, all the days and nights that we know will be, I will stay with you, will you stay with me, just one single tear in each passing year."

Everyone needs their own posse when opening presents!

Sparkly number 3 and Transformer candles totally go together. 

Her little face and smile get to me all the time.

We had a going away/congrats cake for Gretchen and Scott.

Family pic using the self timer...not the most perfect picture but perfectly Team P!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Longest Week of My Life

We made it.

I ate some really bad stuff, I occupied my time by visiting stores and spending money, emailing/calling/texting friends as my support group, and by crying.

Yes, I cried. And not just on the first day. I really lost it on the third night in to the fourth day. The week got harder, not easier. No one prepared me for that. And yes, I am mad at every single one of you for that. HA!

But I've learned a lot this week. Two of the biggest are:

1. Carter is JUST like me. Exactly like me just slightly shorter.

2. Your own pain is absolutely nothing like your kids' pain.

Let's go over the two items, shall we?

1. Carter is the sweetest, kindest, most generous person I know. If you are having a bad day, invite Carter Patrouch over. She compliments, gives hugs, and really knows how to cheer you up. I like to think I am the same way. I get really happy when I make others happy. CJ is the same.

The girl worries. Oh my does she worry. I feel awful for her because I know what it's like to be filled with anxiety.  I hate this for her.  But hopefully I can guide her in to a better direction than my own ways.

She's sensitive. VERY sensitive. Add tiredness to the recipe and we are all screwed. She does not do well when tired.  Neither do I.  Marc has learned this and doesn't question me when I sneak off to nap.  He knows it's for the best.  We have learned the same with Carty.  If she is tired, let her sleep!

Family gal. She loves us. I mean really loves all of us. She misses us terribly when we aren't around her. While she likes school and has fun, I really think she'd love it more if we were all there with her.

2. The saddest movies I can think of are Beaches, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, Toy Story 3, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  Now, A LOT of movies make me cry, these movies make me curl up in to a ball, cry until I can't breathe, and have that really ugly cry-face that makes your face red and white all at the same time.  I stay puffy for awhile after from the tears.  It's bad.

I have broken a toe, dislocated my kneecap, had labor pains, and 3 c-sections. I've had my heart broken, family members die, and family members diagnosed with bad stuff.

NOTHING, none of that, makes me cry or be in pain like my kids' pain. Man oh man.  Marc said it best, "Kids make you find the pit of your stomach. If you didn't know where it was before, oops, there it is!" So true.

Deep within my soul I feel their pain.  It is all consuming.  All I can think about.  Deep sigh.

It's as if I take their pain and put it in myself.  But I can't actually do that, so it ends up that both of us are hurting.  Vicious, ugly cycle.  But what can I do?

I'll tell you...I hug them five thousand times, kiss them all over their face, buy their favorite treats, and let them sleep in bed next to me so I can see their sweet little baby faces. I hover, and nag, and bother them until I know they are ok. I drive past their school and see them playing happily on the playground. Maybe even twice I'll do that.  I have and will do anything to make sure they are happy.

So the first week of elementary school is over. At 2:36 pm I will greet CJ at the bus and bring her home. I will have all my birds with me for two days straight and it will be awesome.

I have learned I am NOT the mom that rejoices because school is back in session. I am the forever summer mom. I am the mom that has contemplated homeschooling just so I can be around them all day.

Half of you have just rolled your eyes! HA! A quarter of you are probably in agreement and the other quarter are probably a mixture of both.

If you had kids starting back to school this week, how did you do? If they start next week, how are you feeling?!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kindergarten

I jolt awake.

It's dark.  Quiet.  Middle of the night.

I feel pressure, but no pain.

I get up, go to the bathroom, come back to bed.

Sleep eludes me.

I get up again.  More pressure.  Still no pain.

But I know.

This is it.  I'm going to be a mom soon.

Will it be a boy or a girl?  Will Carter look like Marc or me?  Will s/he be a good baby?  Will I be a good mom?

Thoughts race.  Pressure is stronger.

Now there's pain.

I wake Marc to let him know the news.  I am greeted with the biggest, sleepiest smile I've ever seen.

******

Last night was much the same.  But the pressure was higher.  It was in my chest.  My head raced.  Will she like school?  Will other kids like her?  What will I do all day waiting for her to return?

Preschool was a breeze compared to this...it was only 3 hours.  She left me at 9 to return at 12. Now I don't see her until 2:30.  I might as well be traveling to the moon with all the time I have to wait.

My heart races.

Sleep eludes me.

Five and a half years later and she's still completely in control of my emotions.

She can do this, but can I?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When Your Baby Isn't Your Baby Anymore

It took a lot longer than I expected, but I finally teared up over CJ going to kindergarten.

This will be the first time in FIVE years that I am not the one driving her somewhere in the morning or hanging out with her all day.

Five years we've been buds.

And now she's off to the big school.

Ugh.

I am SO excited for her, I really am, because she is SO excited.  The girl loves school.  In the car  yesterday she was telling me she hopes she learns science.  Immediately after this she asked what is science?

She's excited about new friends, a new teacher, learning lots of stuff, and the big playground.  She's busting at the seams to get to school.

But it's official, she isn't my baby anymore.

I can barely even lift her up because she's almost as tall as me.  And she can walk down to the neighbor's house to play.  I don't even have to be WITH her.

Last spring her teacher, LPW, told me to try and not be too sad because some great things happen as they grow up.  And, per usual, LPW was/is correct.  Carter can get her own water, own snacks, tells us when she's tired and needs to go to bed, she can wash her own hair in the bath, she's super independent while still needing hugs and love from us.  She's a perfect little combo of awesomeness right now.

Gah, I love her so much.

Also in the car she was telling me she likes to give nicknames to people.  We are a nickname family: Marco, MJP, CJ, Carty, Gabo, Gabey, Harp, Harpie Ri, The Baby, the list goes on and on.  Her latest nickname for herself is Jean, which is her middle name.  I highly doubt this one will stick, but for now I am calling her Jean.  She's so dang cute.

I am going to be a mom to a kindergartener.  I know plenty of moms have walked in these shoes before me, so PLEASE give me words of encouragement.  I need the strength to not cry and totally embarrass her on her first day of big girl school!

P.S. I will TOTALLY be like this for every single first day of school in her lifetime.  Poor thing will be in college and I'll be clinging to her leg not letting her go.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chasing Pirates

My Pirate!

You know when you are a kid and you wake up on Christmas and don't want to move?  You're SUPER excited to see if Santa came, but are afraid to move in case he hasn't and if he hears you, you'll get nothing!  And then you start to think about all the toys you wanted and are anxious to see if you actually got them.  So you're at the peak of your happiness thinking about it, but anxiety-ridden all at the same time.

That's me on my kids' birthdays.  I'm about to bust from excitement and anxious about what the day will bring, what the next year will bring, all of it swirling in my head.

My Gabey is four.  Even a day later it makes me teary.

I, of course, tortured myself and listened to his day of birth playlist, aptly named "Deuce Day".  I was doing pretty well until Nora Jones' song "Chasing Pirates" came on.  I cannot remember why we added this song originally other than we just really liked it.  Well, years later we would have a boy that LOVES pirates.  And when that realization struck me, I cried.

Yesterday morning Carter said to Gabe, "Happy birthday, buddy!"  And he said thanks excitedly and hugged her.  That was the tip off.  That was the coming downstairs to see all your presents in the glow of Christmas lights.  It was the "buddy" that got me.  They are buddies, they're best friends, and I love that for them.  When I use "Team Patrouch" I really mean it. We are a team.

Marc's biggest duty as a father has been to tell me the gender of the baby right after s/he was born.  On June 25, 2010 he said to me, "Well, we have to decide if he's a Gabriel or a Benjamin!"  And then we high fived.  Yep, we high fived right there in the OR!  Good times.

I couldn't believe it, we had our boy.  We had our namesake.  Let me be clear here, we NEVER worried about which gender we were having which is why we waited until their birth days to find out. If Gabriel had been a Harper that day, we would have been 100% ok with it. BUT I will say, there is something really special about seeing a dad hold his son.  A really big 9 pound, 2 ounce son!

And to this day, there is something about Marc and Gabe together.  They make me all gooshy.

That boy makes me a big ol' puddle of softness.  Maybe it's because we are the same astrological sign, Cancer.  That's the crab if you don't follow such things: hard exterior, soft inside.  Pretty much describes the two of us to a T.   Or maybe it's the fact he is the middle of three with sisters on either side and I was the middle of five with boys on each side.  I understand his position in life.  Whatever it is, I melt for him. I am weak and defenseless when it comes to him.

But he has given me so much.  He has given me the strength to be a momma bear.  He has given me the strength to be soft and gentle.  He loves me for exactly who I am with no questions or expectations.  Except he does tell me to wear my hair down and put on glasses!

Out of all the kids I feel as though I've had to "work" with Gabriel the most.  I've had to learn to be patient, accepting, flexible, but also concrete and strong in my ways.  He challenges me.  He pushes me to limits I didn't know were possible.  But God does he make up for it when he gives me the tightest hugs possible. And he never lets go first.  Ever.  And he always wants one more interaction with me before bed.  It's as if he couldn't sleep without knowing I'm there for him.

And I will ALWAYS be there for him.  No matter what.  He's my Gaberdoodle.

I asked him last night if he's gonna live here forever and he said no.  At four he knows he has bigger plans.  But good God do I hope that he always comes home, always gives me those big hugs, and always plays with his dinosaurs.  I may keep a box around forever and force him to play!

And maybe, just maybe, one day Marc and Gabe will play dinosaurs with Gabe's son and my heart will officially explode!

Gabriel Benjamin, boy oh boy do I love you.  I love your floppy hair that you're trying to grow out to look like Loki.  I love your big ol' AC Slater dimple.  I love your little butt that can't hold up pants.  And I can't forget your green sweater that you've grown very attached to the past few months.

And thanks for loving my chocolate chip cookies.  Just say the word when you want more!!!

The kids are obsessed with Katy Perry's "Firework" and I actually think it's pretty fitting for them!  Enjoy.



Friday, May 23, 2014

For The Times They Are A-Changin'

Well, she went and did it.  My first born went and grew up on me.   Yes, she's five.  Only five.  But to a mom going through all this the first time, she is ancient!

Yesterday was her pre-k graduation and she will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  She won't be in the same building as me, I won't be taking her to school, she'll be riding the bus home.  CJ will be in a big, huge school, with new people all around her. My hand holding her hand is being stretched out even more.

Cannot handle.

I mean, she's awesome, she's brave while still being cautious, she's friendly, smart, caring, and has the most beautiful soul.  Teachers adore her, kids want to be around her, she will do great.  I will do horribly.

One day Carter told Marc that she was glad she came out first.  She explained to Marc that she was in my belly with Gabriel and Harper and she was happy she came out before them. Well, I am too.  She's a great "guinea pig".  She excuses my faults, accepts my apologies, and helps me grow in to a good mom.  A mom worthy of her love.  Carty has always been a go with the flow kind of gal.  She's up for anything.  From minute one she has been our buddy.

She's the best.

The absolute best.  I am grateful for that girl.

When you first hold your child, you're in love.  You are mesmerized that this creature is yours.  But you know what, that love is NOTHING compared to what grows as you get to know them.  As you see them emerge as their own person. They have their own likes, dreams, wishes, fears, their very own view of the world.  And sometimes little glimmers of yourself shine through and you cannot help but laugh that someone else in this world can be so much like you.

I am so proud of CJP.  Despite me royally screwing her up, she's managed to turn out ok, so far! All those days and nights I cried thinking I was the worst mom to ever walk the planet, all those times I cried because I was exhausted and didn't know what the hell I was doing, the phone calls to anyone willing to listen to me, all led to this moment.  The moment I could sit back and beam with pride.

If I am such a mess over preschool, what the heck will I be like at high school graduation?  And college?  Don't get me started on her wedding.  Ey yi yi!

The best and worst part about kids is they grow up and become independent, exactly what you want them to be!


My baby girl walking in to the ceremony!!

Joy oozes out of her.

 Walking across the stage to accept her diploma. 
Her favorite color is red, the thing she'll miss most about preschool is playing with her friends, and when she grows up she wants to be a cooker. 

I'm holding on tight, she's ready to go.  *tears*

At least I know she'll always be silly!!!

"As the present now will later be past..for the times they are a-changin'."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Momma's Day

Sigh.

It's Mother's Day.

It's got me feeling all these feelings.

Now, I wouldn't say being a mom is the most difficult job in the world.  I'd reserve that for the Marine about to enter war, the ER doctor about to save someone's life, anyone that works at a waste treatment center.  I think you know where I'm going with this.  Being a mom has challenging and difficult moments.  I would say being a mom is the weirdest job you can have.

It's weird that you meet your kid and instantly you are in love.  They haven't done a thing for you, most likely they aren't telling you they love you, aren't giving you presents, helping with chores, watching a game with you, sharing your love of Kit Kats, they are just them.  They are who they are and you love you them instantly.  And isn't that the best kind of love?  With no other reason than you love them for exactly who they are?!

I've been doing this gig for 5 years now and I've realized something, even when you are alone, you aren't alone. Ever.  You constantly have this feeling of them with you.  Now, I will say, it's rare that I am alone alone, like totally by myself.  Right now at this moment I am because Marc P has the kids out somewhere.  But I see all their toys, I have a couple of socks piled next to me on the desk, a picture of them staring at me.  So even though I don't hear their constant giggles, fighting, laughing, singing, whining, they are with me.

And when they are physically with me it is usually right under my feet, on my back, sometimes on my head, holding my hand, grabbing my face to tell me the love me.  Harper does this the most.  She puts me in a chokehold and says, "I love chu mommy".  And I melt.every.single.time.

This is a pretty accurate picture of us.

Doing anything is an extra 20-30 minutes when you have kids.  About to head out the door? HAHA, WRONG!  Someone has to go to the bathroom and someone forgot a very important toy that they MUST put in their backpack.  About to enter the car to go somewhere? HAHA WRONG!  There is a very interesting leaf that must be examined by each child.  And then each child must find their own interesting leaf. About to go to bed?  HAHA, WRONG!  One needs a hug (CJ), one's blanket isn't right (GB), one is singing and running around in her crib (that'd be Harper.  Every night.)

Want to eat and talk with your husband?  Try in about 18 years.  Parents' talking sounds like nails on a chalkboard to a kid.  They cannot handle it. They must stop it.  They must get the attention.  They must have mom all to themselves.

Want to go a trip?  That's fine, go, but know that you'll think about them every single second you are gone.  And you'll be worried the entire time that you might not get back to them. Ok, so maybe that's just me with the morbid thoughts, but it's true.  And when you hear their little voices on the phone you will immediately want to pack all your shit up and get home to them.

And you know what, I wouldn't trade this job for any other.  Even on the craziest of days.  Because I could be behind a stupid old desk at a stupid old job.  Instead I get to play princesses and dinosaurs, sing and dance all day long, read books, play outside, and learn the nuances that make up each child.  I'm super lucky.  Super happy.  And I have Marc to thank for making me a mom!  Thanks, babe!

And yes, the birds arrived home while I was typing and put an end to all my thoughts.  But I think this will do!

I love you, birds.  Thanks for making me feel like I'm doing an ok job!!

And since I attach music to every aspect of my life, here is Ben Harper and HIS MOM!!! singing the song "Born to Love You" and it's beautiful!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Angel Nurse

I am very lucky that during my lifetime I have had very strong, influential, amazing women guiding me through my years.

One woman came in to my life on the best/worst day I have ever experienced.  The day my first was born.

Today that woman is celebrating her birth.

Lietzle was my labor nurse and EXACTLY the person I needed by my side...in addition to Marc P, of course. We chatted, we laughed, teared up, she supported me, understood me, and never judged.  I felt as though I had known her forever.  After her shift was over, she called in to see how I was doing.  I mean, that is an awesome nurse if you ask me!  To care so much about your patient even after you have left!

Well I fell in love with Lietzle so hard that I begged her to be in the OR with me when baby #2 was born.  A quick recap of that experience, there was a microburst that hit Charlottesville the night before causing major havoc in the area.  Power was out, phones were down, we weren't even sure we'd be having a baby on the scheduled day.  Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck.  But in we walked, and there she was, my Angel Nurse.  Seeing her instantly made me feel better.

Lietzle, I will love you forever and ever and ever!  Happy birthday to one of the most important people in my life!!!  You better rock this day, you deserve it!

Carter and Lietzle, two beautiful women!

Lietzle checking in on my Gabriel. 




Monday, March 17, 2014

Five Trips Around the Sun


One

Two

Three

Four

FIVE

That sweet baby that took her time getting here is now five years old.  A whole hand.  A big girl.  The baby locks are gone, the round head that has endured endless kisses is now long and lean like a little lady, chubby fingers have been replaced by skinny, sleek ones.  Those middle of the night cries for food are now cries for a mom’s hug for safety.  Long gone are diapers, bottles, onesies, learning to crawl, then walk.  She can get food out of the fridge on her own, prefers to be alone in the bathroom, picks out her own outfits everyday, runs and climbs, and is full on KID.

I couldn’t read her birthday card to her this morning through the tears that started flowing.  For a week the littlest of things made me tear up: singing “Let It Go” with the bravado of a Broadway star, sleeping and smiling when I gave her a kiss late at night, putting on a pretty dress she picked out.  I guess all that holding it in finally busted out.

She’s the best little kid ever.  Actually, she qualifies to be one of the best humans I’ve ever met.  Carter is everything I want to be and work so hard to be.  She just IS.  She’s so kind and thoughtful.  CJ makes friends easily, can talk to anyone.   Even at her worst, she’s pretty A-OK. 

I feel as though I won the kid lottery with Carty Jeanie.  She’s very respectful, behaves well almost all of the time, is polite, loves school, goes with the flow, very adaptable, and is a neat kid.  A really neat kid that is interesting and funny.

After her birth I was talking to a friend about how bummed I was that I had to have a c-section.  She told me that hard labors equal good babies/kids.  Gosh darnit was Joni right.  For all that she and I had to go through to get her here, she turned out pretty darn easy.

Carter Jean, what can I say about you other than I love you more than anything else in this world.  (Note: Marc, Gabriel, and Harper, I feel the same way about you.)  I hope to be as awesome as you one day.  Thanks for helping me get there. 

“And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in heaven”







Thursday, February 27, 2014

Awesome Mom

So I am going to write something that I don't hear a lot of moms say, BUT SHOULD!

I am a good mom.  A damn good mom.

No, I don't have the cleanest house.  We don't eat all organic, I don't force veggies down their throats, I reward with candy, we aren't practicing Montessori programs at home, we don't travel much, the television is on more than it should be, and gosh darn it we only know how to speak English.

It's not that I don't want all those things, but they aren't my priority.  If they are your priority I give you major, major props.  This isn't to bust on anyone else and how they do things, it's to praise me.  Because why not?  I work hard at this mom thing and I think I'm doing great.

I let my kids be kids.  I let them pretend and play, have independence when they need it, value their opinions, I try not to dismiss their feelings, and I respect them as human beings.

I haven't had my yearly review in two years, but I don't need it.  I am reviewing myself.

My kids are my everything.  I love the hell out of those little beings.  Everything I do, think, plan for is for them.  I teach them values, manners, how to be nice and caring, giving, and how to love the hell out of each other and do nice things for people.  Most importantly how to be respectful.

And just about every day they prove to me that they are good people.  And that's how I know I'm awesome.

Harper kisses any Team P member that is crying.  Gabe will hug the shit out of you if you need it. And Carter is A+ at making people feel better by drawing/painting them pictures.  They do a million other things, as well, those were the first that came to mind.

All their teachers give good reports on them, too.  And now working in the school I can see that some kids might be a little less well behaved than others.  Not mine though, they know they get in big trouble if a teacher has to tell me about something bad they did.

The kids also adore me.  Like overboard adore me.  But that's a sign I'm doing something right...right?! If I were a poop mom I'm pretty sure they'd ignore me. At least that's what I tell myself.

My oldest is about to turn five and it's taken me that long to admit to myself that I am a great mom.  A year ago, I would have told you I was the worst mom ever and I was ruining my kids.  A year from now, I may be writing a blog about how stupid and overconfident I was.

But for right now I am really happy with myself.  I am really excited about the kids' ages (almost 5, 3 1/2, and 2 1/2) and am loving the whole gig.

Of course this doesn't me I don't have spurts of doubt and questioning. But I think it's good to question because you grow from that.  I love to learn and always want to get better and that's what I am doing. But I'm finally not putting SO much pressure on myself and trying hard to not be PERFECT.  Because really, I am perfect for THEM.  I am all they know and they think I'm doing ok.

I love them so stinking much it hurts sometimes.  But LOOK AT THEM! Cutest birds I ever did see.  I will continue to be the best mom ever just to see those smiles.


So if you're a mom, tell yourself you are doing ok, because YOU ARE!!!

What kick ass qualities do you have as a mom?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Just So Something!

Lately I've been feeling a lot of, "Wow, this is my life! I'm pretty damn lucky!"

I was sitting and talking to Carter the other day and it hit me that I'm her mom.  GOODNESS! I am a mom of THREE!  I don't feel like a mom, I don't feel old enough for such a label.  I definitely don't feel mature enough to raise kids.  But here I am with all these really neat kids.  I can have 'real' conversations with them; ask about their days, feelings, hopes, expectations, friends, etc.  We hang out and have fun.  Sure, there are hard moments, hard days, even weeks.  But overall, time spent together is really awesome.

They are so kind and thoughtful.  The other day Harper didn't want to take a nap, but I am a mean mom and made her anyway.  So as she was standing in her crib, while I looked for her blankie, Gabe went in, sat on the recliner in her room, and started telling her a story.  Hand movements, changes of voice, everything, he was really in to it.  As was Harper.

I didn't have to tell him, she didn't have to ask, he just went in and told her a story to calm her down.

Wow.  Great kid!  He is so considerate of others and loving.

And CJ is my little helper/assistant. She loves nothing more than helping me cook, watching over the children, or doing anything that she feels is a grown up task.

Harper.  Well, I'm 100% sure God sent us Harpie to entertain us and keep us smiling.  The girl is beyond adorable with these big, round eyes, and a giggle that can melt the coldest of hearts.  She's a gem.

Then there is my husband.  Sigh.  I could write a book about the wonderfulness that is Marc P.  He's my favorite person in all the land.  We are all super lucky to have him in our lives.

On top of the birds and the mister, is a group surrounding us that supports us, loves us, and is there for us in so many ways; my family, Marc's family, friends, sorority sisters, volleyball peoples, neighbors, and school/work friends.  And I have a group texting crew that keeps me entertained on the regular.

I'm just so lucky.  Maybe lucky isn't even the word because I don't think all of this is just by chance. It's just so something!

Not sure why snow days make me so sentimental, but they really got me going on feels trips.

What makes you thankful about your crew and who is in the crew?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day Thoughts About the Mister

It's really weird to think that at one point I did not know one thing about Marc P.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Now I know everything. Well, it's hard to say I know everything because that's a lot of stuff to know, but I know what I need to.

I know that he likes wings, but not ones with hot sauce.

Marc P has really bad taste in movies.  Horrible.

He leans to a more liberal point of view in most areas of life.

Life long Jets fan.  Even if it is painful.

Amazing cook.  He makes some good food that boy.

He is a beer snob.

I know that everything he does is for his family.  His nose scrunches up when someone is laughing at his jokes because he is smiling so big.  He's not afraid to be honest, but he does it in the most tactful way possible.  Something I could learn from him!  He can chop wood, build a fence, carry in firewood, but those strong hands can rock a baby to sleep and make a crying kid feel better.

Seriously, it's mind boggling that there was a time when I didn't know him.  And now I share his name.

I get to hang out with my favorite person every single night of the week.  And on weekends some times we go on adventures, some times we lounge around the house, but no matter what, we're having fun.

He's the cutest, funniest, most caring person I know.  Sure am lucky I hired that guy back in 2006.

What are some fun facts about your significant other?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Focusing On the Good

I am constantly trying to improve myself as I mature and age.  I am trying to be nicer, calmer, more empathetic.  Especially in the mom arena.

The biggest change I am trying to make is to be "gentle".  To myself and the birds.  NO ONE is more critical of my parenting than me.  I am terrible to me.  And I need not be.  My children are often praised by teachers and others on their good behavior.  While I believe most of it is because they are just really awesome, good kids, I have to admit some of it must be due to parenting.  So maybe I'm doing some things right?!  Come to think of it, it's probably all Marc, but I'll take some of the credit.

Anyhoo, in the spirit of being gentle, I am trying to yell less and praise more.

Have you ever noticed, not just in parenting but in life, you make a big deal out of the mistakes, and not as big a deal of the good behaviors?  Even the smallest mistake will be noticed while something good and wonderful, although little, is ignored.

So I am trying to let some of the mistakes pass by and really call out the good stuff.  If a kid is chewing with their mouth closed (a big thing for me), I praise them.  If they chew with it open, I let it slide.  I am hoping the positive reinforcement will stick faster than the negative attention.  Small example, but an example.

When the kids are playing nicely together, with no fighting, whining, stealing, I let them know how awesome it is that they are friends.  When they are fighting, whining, stealing, I let it slide and see if they come back around.  I let them work it out together, instead of me turing in to a yelling lunatic.

For whatever reason the two oldest birds have been spilling a lot of liquids lately.  Trust, it kills me.  Cannot stand it.  But instead of yelling, which makes everyone upset, I tell them accidents happen and I hand them a paper towel so they can clean up the mess.  They have to learn at some point that making a mess means they have to clean it up.  I won't always be there to do it for them.  (PS Being a lazy mom truly is the best way! All in the name of "teaching"!)  When the kids drink all their drink or eat all their cereal with no spills, I tell them what an awesome job they did.

In the short time I've been conducting this experiment I've seen pretty good results.  The house is a lot calmer, well, as calm as a house with three young kids can be, and I am not as stressed.

Focusing on the good!  That's my motto!

Do you have any "gentle parenting" stories you are proud of that you want to share?