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I am sorry

This is the best picture after 912 takes

Take 912

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last status update on facebook

Sometimes the re-entry after vacation is brutal! Monday I ran Friends of Scouting at Boy Scouts, today was a little league board meeting, tomorrow is a day camp board meeting, Thursday is a cub scout event, Friday is small group (at our house), Saturday is Pinewood Derby and Sunday I teach Sunday School at church. Throw in there 5 baseball practices, coop, homeschooling, an orthodontist appointment and a girls night. I’m exhausting just thinking about my calendar

There were a smattering of comments, one of my friends from high school said, “What a great mom!!!” Though it was a nice comment, it made me feel incredibly terrible.  I felt like a liar.  She doesn’t know what my every day looks like.  I didn’t post:

Just spent the last two hours on the phone with the insurance company, followed by the last twenty five minutes on the phone with my husband where I finally blew my top at my 6-year-old and yelled “WHAT IS THIS THING ATTACHED TO MY HEAD?!!!??  OH THAT’S RIGHT, ITS A PHONE!!!  I WILL TALK TO YOU WHEN I’M DONE!” Where my husband gently rebuked me and said, “That’s not very nice.” And I quickly retorted in self defense, “You’ve missed the last billion times when I’ve quietly signed I’m on the phone to him and made crazy eyes at him to underline the point that I’m busy and mouthed the answers to a million stupid questions”

Not only did I feel like a big old faker, but I felt terrible, like a co-conspirator with Satan, helping to make all of my “friends” on facebook feel a little bit inadequate or not up to par.  Not that I’m the bar that everyone should hold themselves to, because I am definelty not.

When we see these little snippets of all of our “friends” lives everyone seems so awesome.  Everyone is always smiling, with perfectly clean houses in the back ground when I don’t even remember the last time I’ve washed my kitchen floor and it’s going to take a week to catch up on my laundry and the only smiling I’ve seen on my rag-a-muffin kids is when they’ve succeeded in teasing their brother into tears. Or people with less money than us are taking awesome vacations in warm tropical climates with their perfectly toned bikini ready bodies in the middle of winter, when I of course am still trying (in the very loosest term) to shed this baby weight from 6 year’s ago and its 32 degrees and raining outside.  Or Moms who are showing these amazing breakfasts that they’ve whipped up for their kids hours before I’ve even considered being up and even though I could make pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head with a side of bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice, I’m just going to set the cereal on the table and feel at least smug that their is no high fructose corn syrup in it.  Or maybe they’ve posted these amazing pictures all dolled up out to dinner with their best friends and I’ve lived here for three years and still haven’t found my Washington BFF yet.

I know how inadequate facebook can make you feel.

I remember distinctly last year when a friend had been rather prolific on facebook for about a week.  She was witty and funny.  She was posting links to tons of blogs, which I never get to read because I’m too freaking busy to catch up on blogs.  I remember thinking, how the heck can she find time to be on facebook when she homeschools her two girls (who seemingly could run academic laps around my kids)?!?  Then later I found out she wasn’t really doing very well physically.  I did feel bad for her because I do love her, but mostly, I felt relieved.  Her struggle made me feel better, because I was feeling a little bit jealous and rather like I sucked tremendously at this whole work/life/homeschool balance thing reading her news feed and thinking how the heck does she do such a great job homeschooling her kids *and* be able to read so many blogs.  I private messaged her and she sent me back the sweetest response ever.

Okay, it’s been 30 minutes, and I’m still laughing at the idea that I live some sort of “balanced” life. Seriously, you’ve got no idea how funny that is (and here I’ve been all…where does Chanel find time to travel to see friends and knit and play board games and have house guests and drink wine)!!!

Then I went through my newsfeed and looked at all of things that I have shared.  According to my timeline, I live an awesome life where I have it all together all the time.  According to my timeline, I’m awesome.  I’m a prolific crocheter, a philanthropist, I have witty kids who are amazing, a loving husband, best friends, and I love God.

And I do.

Think about that for a second.

All of those wonderful great things that you share on facebook are who you are.

I am sorry if I made your week seem inadequate to my busy schedule.

I’m sorry if you went to kids school and proceeded to feel like crap when they asked someone to head the teacher appreciate week and in the back of your head you felt a little bit of pressure from me.

If it makes you feel better, I can’t quite remember the last time my twins got a bath.  We ordered pizza last night because my refrigerator contains condiments, beer, rotting lettuce and a jar of pickles.  At 11:03 am, I still haven’t showered.  I fed my kids cold pizza for breakfast (and I’ll probably do the same for lunch).  I just put away the Christmas decorations yesterday, almost a full week after the Epiphany.  I finished making my extended family and friends’ Christmas presents well before Christmas but haven’t mailed them out yet.

Please know that I, most assuredly, do not have it all together.

Also know that I really don’t want to see all the nitty gritty of your life.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I want to know that you’re normal, but I mostly want to see the good stuff.  I want to see your adorable kids, I want to know all the awesome stuff you do, because I want to know that I can be better at some of those things that I struggle with.

I found this gem this week, and I am weaving it into my heart, may this burrow itself into your heart too.

“You deserve better than to define yourself by your own interpretations of secondhand lies, spoken by the Accuser through the mouths of others. Know that I [God] love you. You were wonderfully and fearfully made, planned out from the beginning, assigned a special place in Creation and in the story of salvation. You are not a failure; you are part of My success. You will stand, for I am able to make you stand. You are an instrument in My hands; a vessel formed by the Potter, a branch grafted in by the Master Gardener. You deserve better than the things you tell yourself so often, simply because of the One who created and redeemed and is refining you.”

 

friends

First, I have the best friends a girl could ask for.  Where normally three is a very hard number, someone always feeling left out, frozen underwear at a sleep over and everyone always on the lookout for a fourth; we form the perfect trifecta.  I miss them a lot now that we are spread all over the country.

We balance each other very well.  One of them is amazing.  She leads every club, organization, event you can think of, MOPS, cubscouts, homeschool clubs, AWANA, freezer cooking clubs, and church groups.  And if her community doesn’t have what she’s looking for, she jumps in and starts a new one.  And she’s awesome at everything.  She ran our social calendar.  Every day was an adventure leading us to new places.  Every day.  I found that my life seriously lacks without her to tell me what I want to do. Seriously, she’s like the energizer bunny.   She’s who you want to grow up to be.  Quite frequently I think to myself, What Would Tanya Do? Not because she replaces Jesus, but because I’m pretty sure that if Jesus had a ranking system, she’d be near the top.

The other one is hilarious.  She’s adventurous and willing to make a fool of herself any time and anywhere.  She’s also more than happy to drag you into the foolery, no matter how begrudging you are about it. She’s the glue that keeps us together.  She calls and texts, she relays information, she sends care packages and funny cards.  She organizes and plans trips. And maybe most importantly,  she makes amazing drinks and the best cake ever.  Which is perfect when you’re having a bad day, she breaks  out the strawberry margaritas and whips up a peanut butter chocolate cake and then proceeds to tell you how much worse it could be.

Me:  I’m a terrible parent

Renee:  How many cigarette burns do your kids have?

Me:  Um, none.

Her:  See, you’re amazing!  How many kid’s parents put out their cigarettes all over their kids.  You’re amazing.

Me:  I guess when we set the bar that low, I’m not that bad.   

It’s always nice to balance the friend who makes you want to be amazing, with the friend who encourages you to take life a little less seriously.  I’m not quite sure what I offer to our little threesome, but I’m really, really glad to be part of it because they are pretty awesome.

I miss them a lot, I miss them most at parties, on AWANA nights, during cubscout meetings, at every game night, and on my birthday.

Last week was my birthday.

My dear sweet husband turned 25 a few years ago and then decided to hold.  Though we aren’t particularly old, there is no way either of us is ever going to pass for 25 ever again.  I on the other hand have decided to go for ridiculous when it comes to my age.  When the kids ask how old I am I’ll come back with 2,912.  or maybe 57.  They know I’m somewhere between 25 and 3,000,012.  Really, it’s all relative right?  Pretty much anything after your 21st birthday is a slow crawl to death. Not to be morbid or anything.  This year, I decided to turn 2,912.  A nice reasonable number.  Born around the time of Elijah the prophet.  Totally reasonable.

After being up twice with the dog who is still mastering sleeping through the night, 6am came way too early.  I also felt all 2,912 of my years and wished my kids were early risers and still loved walking the dog.  I walked outside to this:Nothing says I love you like 50 flamingos

It was completely awesome.  It made 6 am amazing!  I have decided that everyone should wake up to being flamingoed.  It’s kind of hard to top this.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do to them.  It may involve finding some teenager on Craigslist and paying them to spork their entire lawn…

It also turns out that 2,912 was kind of a bum birthday year.  It involved chauffeuring around town, t-ball practice, a baseball game, a doctor’s appointment, and a surly teen.  And as I drove all around town, hurrying from one place to another, wishing I had a doppelganger, I remembered how very much I’m loved and how lucky I am to have amazing friends.

The best birthday ever

I distinctly remember a phone call when my twins where a few weeks old.  This is pretty amazing when you think about the sleep deprivation I was experiencing at this point of my life.  From about 30 weeks on in my pregnancy, I was experiencing such horrible carpel tunnel that I was probably only getting a few hours of sleep at a time.  I remember looking forward to the birth of my babies so I could finally get a decent few hours of sleep.  It’s rather comical what a pregnant mom thinks.  At a few weeks post birth, I was probably averaging somewhere around 45 minutes at a time every few hours.  I was still on singleton baby mentality.  One baby would wake up, I’d change him, feed him, rock him, love on him and then put him to bed and lay down.  As soon as I fell asleep the second little one would wake up.  Repeat and repeat and repeat until you realize that there is a reason they use sleep deprivation to torture people.

Anyways, I distinctly remember my best friend calling to share the good news of a pregnancy.  All of our kids are within a year of each other.  We’ve never actually shared a pregnancy, which is why we  probably kept having kids because we always got to hold an adorable baby and then wanted one of our own.  For every kid I have, she has a little girl.  Some people have all of the luck.  (And from the week I’ve been having with my teenager, I’ll just say it’s me.)

Her:  I’m going to have a baby!

Me:  OH MY GOODNESS ARE YOU SURE?!?!  Because this is miserable.  I am so, so, sorry.  Why did we not remember how miserable this was.  Why did you not remind me?  This is not fun.  You know how you dream of all these bonding moments, breast feeding in the middle of the night, holding hands, looks of adoration?  It’s all BS, these babies have no feelings they just want the boob and want you to change them.  And the laundry they make and I’ve been defecated on no fewer than 8 times today.  And it’s not just the babies who are needy, it’s all the other kids too.  And quite frankly, at this point I have more invested in the other kids, so the guilt is unbearable.  When I just want to take a nap, I find myself laying on the floor pretending to do a puzzle with my eyes closed because I know the four-year-old needs some mommy love.  I am so exhausted.  Infancy is hell.  I sure hope we haven’t misinterpreted the data for toddlers.  Because at this point, you should really reconsider getting pregnant.  Like maybe adopt your baby to your worst enemy.  Or at the very least give her to your sister for a the first few months.  Win.  Win.  I am so sorry.  You’re life is going to suck.

My poor best friend.  She probably was not expecting that.  I rained all over her parade and then invited Godzilla to come run through the soggy wet mess.

I remember this phone call every time someone gets pregnant.  And then each month when I’m not.

Surprisingly, the memories of that torture haven’t diminished but they’ve been overshadowed with thousands of other memories so precious that all the sleep deprivation in the world couldn’t tarnish.  Memories of late night nursings that do involve cuddling, sleeping infants with full bellies and sweet smiles, sloppy wet toddler kisses, the first coos, the first I love yous, spontaneous hugs and kisses, chubby little hands and fingers, the way a toddler walks,  those moments when you are the funniest lady ever, infectious baby laughter.  Those memories win out every time.

Let’s hope it’s that way with a puppy too.

I can't help it if I'm her favorite...

 

Because I can

Because babies aren't sweet enough

Today, I made this adorable cupcake hat for a baby and then I did this:

Because I can

Mckayla:  Don’t worry Hedy, I don’t like this any more than you do.  Why are we doing this?

Me:  Because I can.  Isn’t she adorable!

Her:  Did you make this for her?

Me:  No, I made it for the church bazaar.

Her:  What if the baby who gets this is allergic to dogs.

Me:  Too bad for them.  or maybe I’ll hand wash it first…

I mustache you a question

for whatever reason, this is Mike’s go to picture face.  Some kids have silly smiles, do self bunny ears, this kid puts on this face.

A few weeks ago we went to a garage sale and found a file folder filled with printed money.  Not counterfeit money, just money graphics printed on green paper.  It was labeled something ridiculous like $5.  I passed it off, thinking I could just find a pdf on the internet and print my own money.  But then they announced everything 50% off and $2.50 didn’t seem so bad, especially since I knew I’d be way to lazy to do double sided printing.   It was probably $2.50 worth of heavy weight paper.  So, I brought it home and tormented the kids with it.

Nate: Can we cut this?

Me:  No, you have to wait until I can help you.  We have to cut this very carefully.

Jake:  I’m a really good cutter.  I can do it.  It’s not even a squiggly line!

(In my head, I was thinking, BUT YOU MIGHT RUIN THEM!  But then I realized I was worried about paper.)

Me:  Fine.  Be very, very careful.  Cut slowly, in straight lines.  Take finger breaks often if your hands are becoming tired.  

And it was seriously the best $2.50 I ever spent.  In hindsight, I would have totally paid the $5.  For probably 2 weeks straight, in every spare moment Nate and Jake cut out fives, tens twenties and the occasional hundred.  The were serious ballers.   We have a gaggle of kindergarteners come over every week and one week they had a cutting party.  Turns out cutting is universally considered fun among the 6 and under crowd.

Also, it turns out that moms find scissors just as entertaining when they mustache their children.

 

 

 

I have given up hope that Dave will ever say yes to another baby.  My ovaries might be overacting every month, all dressed up with their good bra and matching panties and cleavage shirt on and ready to go, but they’ve got nowhere to go and no one to go with.  All little insinators of mass fertilization are blocked at the gate and alas, it’s always lonely up in my reproductive tract.

This week friends came over with their baby and she was the first baby to put her tiny little feet on our stairs.  This house will never hold a baby crib or hear late night feedings.  This poor, poor house.  All those sweet baby kisses and laughs just broke my poor little heart too.  Though there isn’t much I can do about getting a baby*, there are a lot of things I can get instead.  First, I decided I wanted a dog.

Dave:  Want kind of dog do you want?

Me:  I don’t know.  I’m torn between a big dog who we can take camping and would run with me if I ever decided to run again, and who can run around with kids and jump in the car.  Or a little tiny dog who I can carry in my purse and dress up every day.  I think I have it narrowed down between a Labrador and a Yorkie.

And when you tell an engineer you’re thinking of doing or buying something, it results in extensive research.  An engineer never impulse buys.

Dave:  Turns out that Yorkies aren’t very good with kids.

Me:  I guess we could get a lab now and then when the kids are grown we could get a Yorkie.  It will be our airplane dog.  She’ll fit in my purse with the little bow in her hair, and we’ll take her everywhere in your airplane.  We will name her Kathrine Elizabeth Cordelia.  A Yorkie may be the perfect retirement/empty nest dog.

And so the hunt for a Labrador began.  I scoured Craigslist and the local shelters.  We needed a puppy, because I really wanted one.  And we already have Frank, the killer bunny, and 20 chickens.  We need to train a puppy not to kill our already existing pets.

Serindipideously, Sunday evening  I found a puppy available to adopt Monday morning from the Humane Society.

I printed out the preliminary adoption application.

Me:  I don’t know how to fill out some of these questions.

Dave:  Like what?

Me:  Well, it asks how old everyone is.  Should I lie and say the twins are 6, every web site says “not for kids under 5”.  I don’t want them to rule us out because they don’t know how awesome our twins are.

Dave:  Just put 5 and 11/12.  What else?

Me:  There’s this trick question, ‘How often will your dog go outside’  What is the right answer?  2 hours, 4 hours? 

Dave:  How about, ‘ as much as he wants to’.   You know these aren’t hard questions. 

Me:  What if they won’t let us have a puppy.  What if we don’t qualify.  How ironic, we can raise 5 humans but not a puppy from the pound. 

When we got to the humane society we were an hour early.  We were the only ones there.

10:15 another car pulls in.

10:25  A truck pulls up.

10:35 Another car drives in the parking lot.

10:40 Two guys get out of the truck.

10:42 A lady emerges from her car.

Dave:  Well, if someone gets out, we all have to.

Me:  Do you think they are all here for Licorice?

Dave:  You could ask them.

Me:  No way. Then we’ll have to block them at the door.

By 10:50 There was quite a crowd around the door, including a few families with little kids talking about the puppies they were going to bring home.  I was getting quite anxious.  And deciding if I wanted this puppy bad enough to break a 4-year-old’s heart.  I did.

Dave:  Well, it looks like you and that other guy might be the only ones who can read directions, since you’re the only ones out of this crowd who has the preadoption application.

Me:  Or maybe everyone else is already preapproved.  I’m getting kind of nervous. 

The whole time, I’ve been positioning myself closest to the door.  So that I can be first in when the door opens (which I am not).  Fortunately the first two people in line hadn’t filled out their predoption application.  Thorough reading and direction following FOR THE WIN!

Me:  Hi!  I’m here to adopt Licorice!  

Her:  And will there be a problem with any of your other household members who aren’t with you.  Why aren’t they here?

Me:  Well, we didn’t want to break their little hearts if we didn’t get her.   If we don’t, they’ll cry and want something else, and we might end up going home with Giana, the geriatric diabetic cat over there with 4 teeth.

We went through a very quick interview and were left with the dog.

Please ignore my shaved belly, I'm now unreproducable.

Hedy

Me:  Oh, my gosh, I think if she likes us and we like her they’re going to let us take her home.

Dave: That’s kind of how it works.  I don’t think they’re too picky who takes the dogs home from the rescue shelter.  I think they really only care if you have $250. 

And $250 later we were the proud owner of a lab puppy.

When I brought her home, the kids were ecstatic.  We fight about who gets to sit closest to her, who gets to hold her leash, who gets to take her out to poo.  I can only hope that they are just excited about that next week.

We decided that though we loved licorice, she needed a better name.

Stormy, Abyss, Angel of Darkness, Gold, Killer, Cocoa, Richard Parker.

Me:  That’s a boy name.  And if she was a he, I’d name him Sean Connery or Indiana Jones.

Nate:  How about Christina? 

Me:  I don’t think Auntie Red would appreciate us naming a dog after her.  If she was yellow, we could name her Sunny, after my grandma. 

Dave:  I love that!  Sunny, is now the forerunner. 

Me:  I’m pretty sure my grandma wouldn’t appreciate a dog being named after her. I don’t think she even liked dogs, and I’m not sure if I could ever yell at a dog with my grandma’s name.  

We consulted the great internet.  I searched for famous women mathematicians.  I was partial to Sofja 

Mike:  Are you sure that’s a woman?

Dave:  Why a mathematician? 

Me:  I just think it would be better to be named after someone who discovered Calculus rather than a piece of candy.  Let’s keep the bar high. 

Dave:  How about Heddy, a beautiful smart actress who invented wifi?

Me:  It’s perfect!

And so is she!

A canvas for crochet torchet

*without losing a husband, and I’ll choose this guy over a new baby every time.

marshall pitching

Baseball consumes our lives.  We eat, sleep, and breathe baseball.  We’ve figured that pretty much all of our time and disposable income goes to baseball.  Between the four boys, I think I spend about 30 hours a week driving to baseball practices, waiting at practices and watching games.

All of our conversations are consumed by baseball related facts.  Which team is in first place.  Who hit a home run this week.  What bat did they use.  How many pitches did so and so pitch in each game.  Can I pitch on Tuesday’s game.  Is there practice.  Are the fields flooded.  Couldn’t we just put in turf fields on all the fields.  I’m starting to find myself an expert on all things little league.

Dave is becoming even more of an expert.  Marshall wanted a new bat.  A $250 bat.  I wondered if maybe the bat was full of dollar bills.  Or if it was guaranteed a hit every at bat.  At this point in Dave’s research, I’m pretty sure that he could give up his job in Electrical Engineering and become a bat engineer.  Last week we decided to bite the bullet and order the bat.   Every day Marshall tracked the package.  What he failed to notice was that Amazon hadn’t actually processed the order.  On the day it was supposed to arrive, and didn’t, I checked the tracking.  I updated my credit cards expiration date and broke the news to marshall that he’d have to wait a few more days for el expensivo (what I’ve decided to name his bat).

Yesterday Fed Ex came at noon and brought me a new chicken feeder and watering system.  The look of disappointment on Marshall’s face was precious.  He went back to checking the bat’s tracking website followed by sitting on the porch waiting for the UPS man.  If he was a more demonstrative kid, he’d probably have kissed him when he arrived in time to take el expensivo to the game.

el expensivo

I wish I had gotten a clearer picture.  It’s almost like the look of a proud dad holding his first born son.  The look in his eye says, “Oh, baby, we’re going to have one amazing season.  I can almost count all the home runs.”

the proud owner and the picture hogs

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