Monday, September 22, 2014

Accepting Fall.

You won't hear me shouting from the rooftops about my love for pumpkin spice lattes (I don't actually like them), wearing jeans (my legs would rather breathe, or, be wearing spandex), or the changing leaves (that means they're about to fall off and die, people)--but it's the day. The first day of Fall. 

If we differ in this area, we can still be friends--I promise. I still pretend to like all the changes for my kids, after all. I try to be a good mom, anyway.

So we do the whole shebang. Visit the orchards, do the hayrides, pet all the stinky animals, and of course, pick pumpkins and stuff.

apple cider donuts, silly-gourd-smiles, and boots, oh my.

I guess it's Fall after all. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014


We live in a time and age where we feel like we can see it all. Thanks to instagram and blogs and what people are tweeting about you formulate a story about their life, and start believing it. You see pretty, well put-together-pictures and you think it's a pretty, well put-together life. Or whatever. 

And blah blah blah. It's talked about again and again and again in blog post after blog post that comparison is the thief of joy. Don't compare your behind-the-scenes with other people's highlight reel. This is part of their life, not their whole life. Don't beat a dead horse, Katie. And don't worry, I won't.

To be honest? I am not a huge comparer. I'm not. Seeing pretty stuff and neat homes, and well-laid-out-pictures on instagram doesn't make me think you have it all together. Even if you do. I just assume you're like me and a (not so) secret-hot-mess. I pretty much assume that your mornings can be chaotic and stressful, and that maybe you, too leave your house looking like a robber ravaged through everything, and come home scratching your head like, 'crap-did we do this?'. I assume that your kids are hard to wrangle come teeth-brushing-time, and that every day is a struggle for you to make healthy food choices and get your butt to the gym. I assume that we all have our issues. And that's cool, because, we're human! Gosh, we are so human. And my human can be kinda....ugly. Impatient. Exhausted. My human can yell. Oh, my humanness made me eat chick-fil-a yesterday. 

But I have to be honest.

The last few days I have been beating myself up. I am not a huge negative-self-talker. I tend to be like, Ok-Katie. Look how far you've come. You've done good. Keep going.  But the last few days have been different and I'm not ok with it. I feel vulnerable sharing--I do. But in all my humanness I'm going to anyway.

Lately I've been comparing myself. Feeling down about where I'm at and measuring myself to where others have gotten in a quicker amount of time. Standing there doing Body Pump at the gym and thinking, oh my god, look at my thighs.  Comparison completely stole my contentment the last few days. It took over my mind and I absolutely hated it

The worst part is, I am so self-aware about this stuff. If it ever crept up in the past I can tell myself to shake it off and move on fast. I tell myself it's silly. I tell myself that I am strong. I tell myself to snap the freak out of it, because, my gosh, THIS IS NOT A REAL ISSUE. But it overtook my thoughts before bed last night and it kept taunting me. I got fed up, and so I prayed and told God that this is not who I am, and please take these feelings away, because, frankly, it's gross.  

This morning I woke up a little bit early. I came downstairs, brewed my coffee, and read a little bit. Of course, without fail, my Jesus Calling cracks me over the head again with this one:

You inhabit a fallen, disjointed world, where things are constantly unraveling around the edges. Only a vibrant relationship with me can keep you from coming unraveled too.

I'm tightening up ship today. I'm not going to let my mind unravel to the point of comparing myself against others. The only person it's hurting is me--and it hurts my focus. It's a waste of energy, time, and it's a disservice to all the hard work I've put in over the years. 

The buck stops here, because this is not who I am.



I know this is a vulnerable discussion--but do you ever find yourself comparing to others? what's your tactic to stay grounded?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The way it begins

I start to feel myself returning to the world again. I hear the little sound of chattering happening over the monitor. I peek open one eye and see that the bathroom light is on. It mentally gives me a gauge for what time it is.

Declan must be showering and getting ready. Ok, it's roughly 6:30-6:45am, I tell my sleepy-self. Almost time to start the clock on this day officially

I hear the chattering again. My brain finally returns to me when I realize that chatterbox is Lucy waking up Emeline, again. I jump up faster than I know is possible and dash toward their door to save Em from yet another rude awakening. 

I literally run into Declan with arms-full-of-Lucy in the hallway. He already saved the day. He throws the chatterbox back in bed with me to cuddle and Emeline still gets to sleep in peace. I breathe a little sigh of relief. 

She presses her little smooshy face against mine and we whisper chat about her sleep. She tells me she tried to wake up her sissy. We talk about the day ahead, and that it's a school day, and I wonder what you'll have for snack today? She tells me she's going to play with the yellow playdoh, and paint a picture using 'on-nange' (orange), and she'll give it to me, even though I tried to persuade her to give it to daddy for his office. (I already have 4 purple paintings from last week.)

A delicious-smelling-freshly-showered man leans over the bed and kisses us both goodbye. He talks to Lucy for a few seconds about the exciting day of preschool coming, she tells him she loves him in her cute Lucy voice. I tell him to drive safe, I always say that. 

We finally decide it's time to go downstairs--but the chill in the air means that it's a robe-day, so we both go on the hunt. She decides to barrel into her room looking, but I intervene (wrangle-the-lion) just in time to save Emeline's slumber once again. We still didn't find the robe. But I found mine.

We make it downstairs without disturbing the big girl.

I click the coffee machine on. 

It feels like an eternity for it to heat up, so I start pouring milk for the girls and putting together a hodge-podge of breakfast items on their plate. Some egg bake, a little greek yogurt, grapes. I don't put huge portions on their plates--I figure they'll eat about a quarter of it anyway. I am usually right.

I have to chase Lucy down once already when I realize she got halfway up the steps proclaiming, "I wake sissy up NOW!" No. no. god, please no. Let her sleep. Dealing with one kid at a time in the morning is a rare, beautiful thing. 

Finally, finally---my coffee is brewing. I pour in a little almond milk, sprinkle a little cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice on top, and I eat a few of the leftover grapes hanging around.

Lucy refuses to sit at the kitchen table today. It would cause a big, huge fight to get her there--she prefers the island, sitting on a rickety, old stool that she always gets stuck on. She's watching the pbs kids app on the iPad, since she's alone, she feels like hot stuff having control over it, since normally Emeline takes the reign on that. So I let her be.

I open up my laptop. Sip in some liquid crack, cough, coffee, I mean. Stuff a piece of egg-bake in my mouth. I look up and I see a raggedy-bed-headed Emeline trickling down the steps, in her oversized hand-me-down nightgown she's obsessed with, holding tight to her rapunzel pillow. 

Good morning, baby

I see her eyes begin to well up with tears the second her feet hit the kitchen floor.

I walk over and kneel down in front of her to give her a big morning hug and find out what's making her sad, thinking maybe a bad dream lingered, you know, something serious.

I don't want Lucy to have the iPad....I....I....I want it.

Within 5 minutes they forget about the whole thing and run off to play tea party, with real water, and real spills.

They only eat a quarter of their breakfast as I expected.

So begins another beautiful, messy, crazy day. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Those September Days

September brings new, fresh starts. It's back to ballet for this beautiful girl. Ballet is something I don't push on her, at all. It's not like I was some ballerina and had great dance experience as a kid, heck, I didn't do much of any extracurricular activities (by my own choice, I was painfully shy). Honestly, if she decided tomorrow that she hated it, I'd be out of there. But she seems to love it so we roll with it. 

I'm flexible about extra stuff. Now's the time to dip her toes in and find her 'thing' and if her 'thing' isn't any of this, then fine by me. Just be yourself, girlfriend. For now, you rock the heck out of that leotard and bun, that's all I know.

I also have no idea where you get that hip-pop and modeling sass from.  

(See last year's 1st Day of Ballet pics here)


In other September News....

Both of these ladies started preschool again. Well, it's a first for Lucy---and it's Emeline's last year before (gulp.lumpythroat) Kindergarten. If you remember, Emeline started preschool when she was 2, and while it was 'first-kid-hard' to send her off that day, it ended up being so amazing for her. We really wanted to have that same experience for Lucy. Lucy, while a little on the younger side in her class, was so ready. Besides, it's only 2 days a week for 2 hours. It's like slowing dipping their toes in, and I'm ok with that.

The girl was so pumped up about doing all the preschool things, she talked about it for weeks. I seriously had to laugh when I went to pick them both up the first day and Lucy had THREE purple paintings all wet and hanging there for me to take home. Of course she would gravitate to purple paint, because, uh, I hate taking the paint out in my house. And purple is her favorite color. She was probably in heaven.

They both had an awesome first day, as I figured, and were both begging this morning to go back to school. (They don't have school on Friday.) 

But, is there anything better than seeing your kiddo's happy and more-than-willing to say BYE to their momma without it being a huge thing? I mean, I joked with the other moms like, "throw me a bone, kid--at least say you'll miss me, shed a tiny tear"-but when it comes down to it? I am proud that they're brave and willing to take on new environments and experiences like it's no big thing.  It's easier on all of us. They're braver than I ever was and I have a feeling they will continue to shock and surprise me as they grow. 

I love learning from these little ladies of mine. They go confidently wherever they go--as they should, really. 

Fresh-Start-September has been good so far. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Photos from 7 to 7.

Simply put, I wanted to challenge myself to get my camera out. There used to be time when my camera was like an appendage, and now, sadly, it's starting to get a little dusty. So yesterday I toted it around as much as I could and tried to get a photo during each hour of the day. 

No, it wasn't an exact science. Yes, every fiber of my being wanted to caption each picture and tell you the backstory so conclusions aren't drawn that are wrong, or whatever. But honestly, that's kind of the fun in this. Just a picture. Just. That's it.  

We always hear, "A picture tells a story". But does it? It captures a moment, sure. But it definitely doesn't show you everything. It doesn't show you the other 59 minutes and 59 seconds of that hour. It doesn't show the part where I walked into my newly cleaned bathroom to find hot pink toothpaste everywhere (really regretting not getting a photo of that), or when Emeline spilled an entire container of applesauce, splattering it across the kitchen floor. 

So let's consider this me dipping my toes back into it all again. Blogging, picture taking, whatever.  

(iPhone photo//dentist office waiting)


Yep. Just a teeny, tiny, smidgeon of a glimpse at this messy, beautiful life. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Under Water

In the last 6-12 months we've noticed issues with Emeline's hearing. It just didn't seem right. It was almost like she was ignoring us, and we were even told once by the pediatrician that, 'yea, selective hearing' (ha-ha-funny eyeroll) after she (seemed) to pass her hearing test with flying colors.

The issue kept on. We knew in our gut something wasn't right. I knew my girl wasn't a deliberately disobedient kid. She honestly just couldn't hear fully. It wasn't until the last few months the issue just got more and more noticeable. The TV would be up at a perfectly acceptable volume, and she'd be super upset that she just COULD NOT HEAR IT, frustrated with me, even.

We'd start to test her out, whispering from behind. Nothing. Back to the doctor and this time she failed the initial hearing test, so we called the ENT to get this show on the road. They got us in that day. I don't know if that's ever happened in my life for a specialist, but I didn't argue. We were ready for some answers for our girl.

After the full blown audiology exam it was determined. She definitely was not hearing fully, had about 50% hearing loss, and there was a lot of fluid back there that simply could not drain. But it could be fixed thanks to the simple tube surgery that lots of kids (and adults) benefit from. Once we realized how poor her hearing really was, 1) we felt justified and also a sigh of relief that we aren't crazy and 2) we wanted to do anything to get it fixed right away.

They were able to schedule her tubes surgery within a few weeks. And this morning was that day.

She was looking forward to it. She knew something was wrong with her hearing. She would say, "will my ears get fixed soon?" She was so ready for better quality of life. For less lip-reading. To just feel normal, I guess.

Everything went smooth as I expected. I was fully aware that this is a no-big-deal surgery and that it would only take a few minutes. Watching her get all woozy from the medication was amusing. She fought the sleepiness hardcore, and near the end she looked up with a silly grin and said to the nurse, "I see TWO of you!" It was great.

honestly, a hospital gown never looked so good :)

They wheeled her off and within no time they were calling us back to post-op. When we walked in she was hysterically crying. They warned us about this, but I admit I still had that initial gut mom-heartbreak feeling. I just couldn't wait to scoop her up. They put the guardrail down on the bed and told me to climb in with her. She was flopping and flipping and wailing. The poor kid was confused and exhausted, and coming off the medicine was rough on her little self. It was probably the most painful part of this thing. Declan and I just held her, told her it would be alright and tried to make her comfortable.

Before we knew it, we were dressing her and taking her home. Within 20 seconds she was asleep in the car. We went to pick up Lucy, who had stayed the night at my mom and dad's house, when Emeline finally woke up.

She had this cute little smile on her face and light in her eyes, and said, "Mom! I can hear now. Test me!" So I whispered from the front seat, "how old are you?" and she said excitedly, "I'm FOUR!!" I smiled at Declan. Something so simple meant a whole lot to us now.

I know, trust me I know that this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But when your baby is having trouble with anything, you want to fix it. Knowing that she's struggled hearing for a while and knowing the way something so small even affected our lives, the way we had to communicate, how to parent her, even--it was actually a big thing.

So when afterwards she didn't need the iPad turned up loud to hear it, and when she thought her normal voice sounded 'so loud in my ears'--we smile. we are so glad she's not under water anymore. we are beyond grateful.

Cheers to fixed ears.

Monday, August 4, 2014

/ / s e v e n \ \

Seven years of being married today. 

In the middle of the night last night I elbow him in the side so he knows that Emeline is up getting sick. Oh, and wipe the vomit from her hair, k, thanks, baby. By the way I've been up 5x already, it's your turn.

I remember it's our anniversary. After a little middle-of-the-night quarrel due to sick-kid-heightened frustrations, I mutter, Oh, and happy anniversary. I have a little attitude in my voice.

This morning we're both exhausted. Hours of interrupted sleep. Tossing puke-laundry down the steps in the middle of the night, changing pj's multiple times, making floor-beds and putting the humidifier in strategic locations, trying to convince a 4 year old that she should sleep and not play the iPad--all of that can make you a wee bit sleepy.

As he heads out of the bedroom to leave for the morning he kisses my face and tells me Happy Anniversary. I was too incoherent to even say it back. 

This is life. Anniversary dates get canceled when unpredictable happens. The kid's you made together? Well, they dictate your life. You might mutter mean things in the middle of the night when you're sleep deprived. You don't hold any of it against each other because after 7 years one thing is clear---You're still on the same team. 

Every single day, working towards the same goal.

At 9:13am the doorbell rings--it's a bouquet of beautiful deep pink and orange flowers. I text him to tell him thank you and that it reminds me of our wedding colors. He replies, "yep, that's why I picked it :)" 

Somehow I love him even more.

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