Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 1018: Mirror, Mirror

Today has been a day of oscillating emotions.


The good thing is, I'm blessed with a plethora of truly amazing friends.  And a fabulous HH.

He spoke today and did an incredible job.  I've never heard such feedback on a talk as I got in his behalf.  That's because my usually reserved HH comes out of his shell in times like that.  And when he does he so charismatic, poised, insightful, candid, and just plain fun that people can't help but like him immensely.

That is why he was constantly surrounded by a gaggle of girls when I first met him.  And somehow, he looked past them all and settled on me.

And what a ride that's ended up being...

Anyway, it was nice today for our friends to catch a glimpse of the man I get to be with all the time.

And later tonight, as I got Darling A ready for bed, I stood her up to look at herself in the mirror.  At first it was just big smiles for the cute baby in the mirror.  Then, delighted squeals.  And then, full on belly laughs.

It was so fantastic.  We were all in there watching her and loving every minute of it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 1017: Fakin' It

I did that all day.  And today was much better than yesterday.

I was reminded during my morning prayer of some vitamin supplements I took last year when my health was really struggling, so I decided to start that up again and see if it helps.

And HH came with me to yoga.  That always makes it that much more enjoyable for me.

Then I showed the kids the Halloween costumes I bought for them.  It pained me to actually buy costumes because I've always really enjoyed making them, but I knew that was way beyond my capacity this year.

And watching them delightedly racing around in their Star Wars disguises was a lot of fun.

This evening I went to a potluck at the church before a broadcast for all the women.  It was great chatting with my friends and watching them hold and love my baby girl.  The messages in the broadcast were nice, too.  I was a tad distracted by my little bundle of joy and also, still not quite emotionally prepared for serious thoughts and discussion, so I'm going to have to go back and read all of the messages when I'm in a better place.

But, it was still nice.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 1016: A Beautiful Life

I  know that is what I have so abundantly.

That makes days like this all the more painful.  I wish I could always bask in the beauty of this amazing life I've been given.  I know that it truly is amazing--and a gift.  But, some days I just can't shake the dark clouds.

I'm not really sure what is going on.  I know I'm sleep deprived, but it still seems worse right now than it should be.  It's frustrating because I was feeling so great and optimistic a couple short weeks ago.  But, today has been really rough.

I ended up locking myself and the baby in my room for the last two hours before HH came home.  I just felt like such a downer and didn't want to expose my kids to that.  HH came home and tried to help as best as he could, but some days I feel broken beyond repair.  Snuggling up with him to watch half if a movie was the closest I came to a Joyful Moment today.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 1015: I Really Do Need Eyes In The Back Of My Head

Complete with x-ray vision to see through walls.

Today was not my favorite.

The morning was especially hectic.  And Baby B has been going full throttle with his brand of crazy.  He's going to destroy my house.  And my sanity.

And who knows what else.

He and Darling A tag teamed it today, so I never got a break today.  I love love love my baby girl.  And I love holding her.  But, sometimes I need a break from it.

I did get to snuggle with the two of them for a bit, and although it wasn't the best timing, that is always a Joyful Moment.

Parent Teacher Conferences were tonight, so again my day revolved around getting dinner ready.  It's amazing how a simple meal takes all day now.

At the last minute, Little M's teacher had to cancel due to illness.  But, I still made it to Sweet P's.  That is always a delight, but this was probably the best yet.  There were multiple areas where she said that Sweet P was "the best" at such and such.  I don't mean to brag, but... well, how can I not?  It was definitely a bright spot in my day.  She's such a great student.  Almost too great.  I worry about the pressure she puts on herself.  I hope we can find a happy balance before she gets older and the pressures get bigger.

Then tonight was pure chaos while HH was gone to Scouts.  I don't even want to talk about it.  It was frustrating and depressing.

And I am utterly exhausted.  An 8:30 bedtime never sounded so good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 1014: A Piece Of The Puzzle

I have really been struggling to figure out why Baby B has his outbursts, so we can find ways to lessen the occurrence.

This morning was his weekly play date.  When I picked him up from the child care center at the gym, he ran all the way from that door across the whole length of the building to the front doors, yelling happily "We goin' to E's house!  We goin' to E's house!"  He was seriously so happy.  And I realized he'd been happy all morning before going to the gym too.  And repeatedly talking to me about going to his friend's house.  And he was so happy and excited and content when he got home too.

No outbursts at all before his nap.  It was amazing.

No price can be placed on a peaceful child.

So, maybe he's just lonely with his big sister and brother gone all day.  And we just need more play dates.

We'll see.

While he was gone, I got some serious cleaning done.  Much much much needed cleaning.  It feels so nice.  No price can be placed on a clean(er) home.

The kids were kind of off schedule and I didn't get much of a break.

Until after HH got home from the gym tonight and I took off for a bit of Violin Parent Instruction and Support Group--and free pie.

I met a few other moms of Suzuki students along with the kids' instructor and we were able to learn more from her and discuss things together.  It's always nice to know that the nitty gritty of my experience is not unique.  And that all kids struggle through.

I did splurge and eat some pie.  And regretted it later.  I felt sick all night!  Not worth it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 1013: Sing Like No One Is Listening

I began this morning with a fervent prayer that I'd be able to get dinner made for my friend.

That prayer was answered, but only just.  Next time I'll pray for it to be easy.

The kids got out of school early today, so I told them we could go hang out with friends after they got home.  Then, I realized this meant I had to have most of dinner ready before they got home.  I spent every free moment on dinner prep.

Then we raced through violin practice.  While Sweet P was setting hers up, I glanced out back and saw Little M sitting on one of the outside toys, singing at the very top of his lungs.  It was this song.  Don't judge me by the music my kids know.  But, it made me so happy to see how happy and free he was just blasting that as loudly as he could.

We finished up violin and headed off to quickly play with friends.  It was a Joyful Moment to watch them play and have some adult conversation with my friends.

Then we hurried back home and I finished making dinner.

These carrots went into the soup.  This photo is why everyone should grow a garden.  Aren't they fantastic?

I was feeling pretty good about things, but then all at once, the soup started boiling over, Darling A woke up screaming, and Baby B had a poopy diaper.  Oh, and the bread finished baking in the oven.  Without going into too graphic of detail, just know that a few moments later, poop was also all over the boys' bedroom floor.  The soup was still boiling and the bread was still in the oven.  Although, the bread turned out really pretty, I'm not going to lie.

And my sweet little baby girl was still crying her eyes out.

Fortunately, HH arrived home just in time and was able to get Darling A out of her bed and then take dinner to our friends while I got the rest of it under control.

He even got the house back in order while the kids and I were at violin lessons.

It was a pretty crazy day.  And I'm pretty sure that without the joy that service brings, it would have been a bad day.  Instead, it was just crazy.  But, I still felt good at the end of it.  Funny how sacrifice has a way of doing that.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 1012: Rock Stars

A friend has to take her little boy to the Children's Hospital tomorrow for tests.  I know how yucky that can be, so I called her this morning to tell her I'll be bringing her dinner tomorrow.  I know it's a small thing among all her other concerns, but it's the one I can help with.  And hearing the relief in her voice was a Joyful Moment for me.

Enough to offset the nagging little voice in the back of my head reminding me that I can barely manage to get dinner for my own family on the table many nights.

The rest of the day went okay.  There were some stresses and Darling A still isn't allowing me to get much sleep, so I was on rocky ground by the time HH arrived home.  We ate a quick dinner and hurried off to the gym, so he and the oldest two could take a rock climbing class while the rest of us watched on.

I forgot my camera again and haven't yet gotten the pictures I took with HH's phone, but there was some pretty impressive climbing.  All three made it to the top of at least one course.  It was a Joyful Moment watching how proud they were.  Especially Little M.  He didn't make it all the way to the top until his very last attempt (he may have received a little boost from the belayer).  I was so proud of him for his persistence!

Then I rushed off to do some grocery shopping.  Baby B has become a full fledged nightmare to shop with.  Not a Joyful Moment, but nice to do on my own.

Here's hoping for some sleep so I can face tomorrow a little better!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 1011: From The Mouth of Babes

This morning we had what we call "The Primary Program".  Where our main meeting of worship is taught predominantly by the children.  Through songs they've been working on all year and small speaking parts they've memorized.

Since the front row is made up of 3, 4, and 5 years olds it is always adorable.  There are a lot of funny parts when you involve children that young.  But, also a lot of touching, moving, and spiritual parts.  The Savior did admonish us to become like a child--in the way that they are meek and submissive and so willing to be taught.  This program is always a good reminder of that.

Sweet P and Little M both took part.  They did wonderfully.  I was especially proud of Little M.  We found out on Monday that through some glitch they hadn't been taught two of the songs.  We worked on them throughout the week and while they both made progress, Little M knew almost every single word of the two songs come this morning!  I was really proud of him for trying so hard.

After church, we had the missionaries over for dinner.  Dinner had been a little stressful for me, but everything turned out nicely and tasted yummy.  So, I was happy.  We got to eat it outside since it was such a beautiful day.  Slightly dampened by the two wasps that wouldn't leave the kids' little picnic table alone.

But, we decided to splurge a little bit since we were having guests and I made another pan of cookie bars.  They were divine.  I restrained myself and only had one, since I am supposed to be completely off of such sweets.  This way, every bite was enjoyed, but I really didn't feel guilty.  Or sick. (c:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 1010: Fall

Today started out fine enough.  Although, Darling A has been back to her newborn sleeping schedule for I don't know how many nights now and I. Am. Tired.

But, I dragged my buns out of bed and made it to one of the most challenging yoga classes ever.  But challenging in a doable way.  I felt really good after and it was a nice Joyful Moment.

Then my youngest two and I headed to the Farmer's Market.  This ended up being chaos because it was a game day and people were flooding the area so they could tailgate for 7 hours before the game started.  And for once, I'm not exaggerating in the least.

So, finding a parking spot was a bit harrowing, but we managed at last and were even blessed to find one not too far away from the market.  Getting my veggies was a Joyful Moment.  Fighting a crazy Baby B to get back in the stroller so I wouldn't lose him (Darling A was in the Moby wrap) and then pushing him out while he screamed at the top of his lungs past hundreds of tailgaters was significantly less Joyful.

There was a brief moment of silence between his screams on the way home when I just got that nice "fall feeling"--you know what I'm talking about?  The air is cooling, people were playing football, and it just started feeling like Fall.  My favorite season.  So, that was a beautiful moment.  Until the screams started up again.

And then, today was one of the days when my postpartum-hormones-induced-anxiety got the better of me, so we'll just leave of there.

At least things started okay.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 1009: Oooh Boy

Well, Darling A slept great a few nights ago.  It was really nice and encouraging.

Unfortunately, she's been back to a newborn schedule the last two nights.  I am SO sleep-deprived.  So, I gradually crashed as the long night wore on.  HH kindly stayed home and took the kids to school while I slept.  For a couple of hours.

It was really nice.  I felt a lot better after that.  Still yucky, tired, and down--but, nowhere near as yucky, tired, and down as I felt at 7 AM.

Then we ran a couple of errands together and I took another nap.

Sleep should never be underestimated in its value.

Tonight was the kids' school carnival.  That's always a little chaotic, but fun.  It was a Joyful Moment to be together as a family and have fun with the kids while supporting their school.  Sadly, I forgot the camera!

I'm so glad tomorrow is Saturday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 1008: De-Claustrophizing

So, I kind of go through cycles of being totally overwhelmed and stressed out by the many things on my to-do list that I simply cannot keep up with while I have a new baby and three other kids and then tackling a bunch of it and making myself and everyone else crazy and then just being okay with being behind and then being totally overwhelmed and stressed out, and so on and so on.

Today was the crazy tackling day.  It was a Joyful Moment to knock several things off my list.  Unfortunately, there is still a ton to do and I'm exhausted and cranky.

At least, it's almost the weekend...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 1007: Gigglier

Is that a word?  Because it describes Darling A today perfectly.  First giggles were this morning during a photo shoot with one of my talented friends.

Do you know how much I love these cheeks?  I can't even describe it.  They are so smoochable and perfect.  I spend as much time with my cheeks pressed up against hers as possible.  I love her.

Unfortunately, it ended in tears.  And screams.  And that part lasted long after we left.  That was a little sad.

We took our sad face over to another friend's beautiful home for a massive gathering of billions of friends.  Maybe not quite billions, but there were a lot of my pretty friends there.  Darling A struggled a bit off and on until we got her all snuggled into her favorite blankie and sound asleep.  Baby B had a great time playing with his friends, too.

The house sort of felt claustrophobic for me once we got home.  Actually, I guess I felt claustrophobic in the house.  Do houses ever feel claustrophobic?  That would be weird.  Anyway, I tried cleaning up (we'd left in a rush and left things quite messy this morning), but nothing seemed to help.  I just struggled this afternoon.

Fortunately, HH came home.  And after dinner, we got to sit on the couch while he made Darling A giggle and giggle and giggle some more by "throwing" her up in the air.  She loved it!  And it was the first he heard her laugh and that made me so happy.  It was so cute and fun and I actually caught it on video!

And then, I was able to really take a little break from the claustrophobic house (and crazy children) and picked up a couple groceries while my fabulous HH put the kids to bed.  I really needed that tonight.  Thanks HH.

And then we decided to throw caution to the wind and watch a movie together on a weeknight.  What?!  We are so wild.

But it was fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 1006: Giggly Girl!

Okay, so that title might be a little overstated, but Darling A did giggle today.  Twice!  It was so fun and far and away the best part of my day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1005: HH Is Really Funny

I just thought you all should know that.  I love his sense of humor and his jokes and I love when he makes me laugh.

And today was a day desperately in need of laughter.  Baby B is just a challenge.  With Little M it was my ears that took the damage.  Baby B definitely has done his share with those too, but lately I'm pretty sure my back is going to break from all of the chasing and hefting and dragging I have to do with him.  And his issues are just leaving me emotionally exhausted.

But then he'll turn around and share a delightful giggle, or ask me for a kiss.

Thank goodness for moments like that!

And all the tiny little moments smiling with Darling A.  I came SO CLOSE to getting her to laugh today.  She appears to be just as stubborn with those giggles as she was with the smiles.  But, I'm sure they'll come eventually.  She's too happy not to giggle one of these days.

I love her.

And we had a fun Family Home Evening tonight making some new healthier lifestyle goals for the whole family.  No treats or junk food for six weeks!  With a couple of exceptions for things already scheduled.  And 7:30 PM bedtime for the kids and 10:30 PM bedtime for Mom and Dad.

Mostly, I did this because I've needed to for a while, but I'm lacking the motivation.  Being accountable to the whole family should *hopefully* do the trick!

I was pleased with how willing everyone else was though.  I'm excited to see how we all feel in 6 weeks!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 1004: Hard Topics

Tonight we joined some friends at a small get together to see some old friends who moved away, but were back for a visit.

They lost their young son in a car accident shortly before they left here a couple of years ago and the reason for their visit was related to this.  So, there was, of course, a lot of discussion as to how they are coping and dealing with this loss.  Which naturally, led to the discussion of a few other tragedies that have recently befallen some other mutual friends.

It was sad and difficult, but uplifting as well.  They're coming it through it with grace and optimism and it seems to have brought their family even closer together.

I'm not the best at keeping in touch, so it was great to reconnect.  And there was plenty of fun, light conversation as well.

After we returned home and got the kids in bed, HH and I got to stay up for a bit and just enjoy a sweet, smiley, and chatty Darling A.  She's three months old today and I can't believe it!  Her smile seems to be getting even bigger and she's got these fabulous little dimples in those chubby cheeks.  I love it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 1003: Who Did You Wake Up Next to?

This is sort of an awkward angle.  That's because I took this photo with my left hand and that is my right arm there in the middle of the photo.  Under that adorable chubby, sleeping face.

She actually slept quite well on her own all night.  But, when she finally did wake up to eat, it was too cold in the tent to feed her anywhere else, but snuggled in my sleeping bag.  And it was so cozy, she promptly fell asleep.

And I can tell you one thing, she is a sweetheart to snuggle on a chilly morning!

Honestly, everyone slept remarkably well.  Except for the enthusiastic, drunk sports fan a few sites over who couldn't stop loudly proclaiming his devotion to his team from about 12-1 AM.  That was awesomeness.

Eventually, we braved the cold and got out of bed.  HH generously loaned me his jacket, since mine had somehow not made the trip.  We had a yummy breakfast and a nice warm fire, again provided by HH.  And then it warmed up enough that the kids decided it would be a good idea to go for a swim.

We didn't expect them to last long, so neither HH nor I got into our suits.  But, all three actually had a lot of fun and insisted it wasn't too cold.  The boys couldn't venture out as far as Sweet P wanted to, though and she was quite disappointed that her daddy didn't want to join her in this polar bear plunge.

Now, there aren't too many things of this nature that HH won't do but I will.

This, however, is one.  I grew up swimming and have braved many bodies of cold water myself.  So, I put on my suit and headed out with my little adventurous princess.  I hope she listened well when HH told her, "You have the BEST mommy in the whole world!"  He was a little surprised that I was actually willing to do this.

Honestly, it wasn't all that bad and it was fun to get in a little bonding time with our Daddy's Girl.

Eventually, we got out and got everything packed up and headed home.

After 6 or 7 loads of laundry and a shower, I felt much better.

And then we joined Sam's Club.  I'm not sure that was a Joyful Moment since I don't approve everything it stands for, but it seemed like a good idea anyway.  I guess I'm not above a little hypocrisy.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 1002: Rewards

We told the kids that if they made it to bed by 7:30 every night for a week, we could go camping at the lake this weekend.

That's pretty big motivation for our kids.

So, it happened.

That was an awesome Joyful Moment in and of itself.  But, camping with them tonight was even more fun.

It was a crazy, chaotic day.  Baby B was at his absolute worst.  I almost went crazy.  And I was already exhausted from a week of just plain poor sleep.  Plus, we thought Darling A had an ear infection.  Anyway, fortunately, she perked up today (thank you, Essential Oils!) and we got the all clear from her doctor, so we did it.  We went camping.  Even though, at times, it felt like more work than it could be worth.

Finally, this happened.  We made it to the campground, hauled all of our stuff out, HH started a fire, and we got dinner going.  And then the kids started counting the stars.  With wonder and amazement on their faces.  It was beautiful.

HH had to wait on me hand and foot while I fed and took care of Darling A.  He's so wonderful.

I've been craving s'mores for months, so that part of the night was awesome.  And a fun walk with just Sweet P and Little M to the miles-away-bathroom.  They are so fun.

And then some good ol' fashioned bedtime stories.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 1001: Ending...

But, not really.

As the date of my 1000th post drew nearer, I found myself increasingly sad about it.  I felt for some reason that I needed to quit this little "project"--for you guys.  Yes, I feel guilty that maybe you feel obligated to read and support me in this?

Anyway, I decided I'm just going to keep on posting.  You can officially consider yourself off the hook.  You don't have to read this anymore to support me.  (c:  You are welcome to, but my focus has shifted a bit.  Now, I'm going to keep doing this for my children.  I think my journey may help the.  Hopefully, none of them will suffer through depression, but they may benefit from seeing how I've struggled and still kept trying.  And, it might help them to see that I'm far from flawless.  Because without this blog, I'm sure they'd never figure that out.

Plus, over the past three and a half years, I noticed that the majority of my Joyful Moments come from my children and I think that is something they should know.

That's not the only thing I've noticed during the course of these last 1,000 days.

This is what I looked like 1,000 Days ago.

This is what I looked like a few days ago.

So, much has changed between now and then.  Our family has doubled in size, I've been to hell and back numerous times, and we've come to the end of this chapter of our lives.

Each pregnancy and post partum period has challenged me to my breaking point--even past it at times, but HH was fortunately there to carry me through.  That being said, we felt very strongly that we needed to have Darling A.  But, we knew from the get go that she (before we knew she was a she) would be the last one for us.  And that pregnancy solidified that knowledge.  After what I (we) went through, neither of us would dare try to brave another one.

Knowing that this is the last newborn for me has been bittersweet, to say the least.  For the first month, or so, I struggled to feel much of the sweet over all of the bitterness.  It broke my heart to think of each "last" event, i.e. the last time giving birth, the last time snuggling a brand new baby in the hospital, the last first bath, the last first smile, the last...

I could go on with this for a very long time.  It was a big struggle for me.  Sometimes it still is.

But, over the past week, or two, the sweetness has finally been able to shine through over the bitterness.  I've been able to just enjoy Darling A for the glorious little wonder that she is.

But, it's more than that.

Imagine running a race with an unknown distance.  You just know it's going to be a long one, but you don't know when exactly it will end.  You'd never give it your all.  You'd just keep going at a maintainable pace, hoping to save enough to last however long you'll need it.  At least, that's what I would do.  And, that's the best analogy I can come up with for how I've been living my life these past several years.

I remember once, while pregnant with Little M, crying to HH.  I told him that it was hard to be optimistic when I knew that this is the cycle I would repeat for the next several years:  Get pregnant, get depressed, have a baby, get more depressed, slowly recover, wean baby, find happiness again, get pregnant, get depressed, have a baby, etc...

And then he said something that, oddly enough, I'd never considered, "We don't have to have any more biological babies.  We can adopt.  Or, not have any more."

We both come from big-ish families and I had always planned on having a big-ish one of my own.  So had HH.  So, I'd never considered stopping at just two.  And the truth is, I'm really glad it came from HH.  Having him originate the idea let me know it was sincere and that I was his top priority.  And the idea was so liberating for me.

Obviously, we decided to have more than just two.  And I won't go into the long story of how it all came to be, but from midway through my pregnancy with Baby B, I knew there was supposed to be a fourth.  And I knew she would be a girl.  Long, personal story, so we'll just skip that.

This is shaping up to be an epically long post anyway.

Even though we made the decision to be done after Darling A before she was even conceived, I guess it didn't really fully become real to me until just recently.

Which is where the race analogy comes in.  It's like I've finally been told how long of a race I'm running.  I know that parenting never really "ends" and I know that each stage brings new, often more difficult, challenges.  But, given the significant impact of hormones on my depression, in a way, I can confidently say that this stage, the whole pregnancy/baby process, is the hardest one for me.  And now that it is almost over, just another short year (give or take a few months) left of nursing, and my body will finally be free of that hormonal process.

I'm not saying I expect to never deal with depression again, or that being a mom will suddenly be a walk in the park.  Here is what I am saying:  I have finally reached a point where I can give "Mommyhood" my all.  It's like, before, I was subconsciously holding back.  I was never "all in" as far as being a mom to my kids.  I needed to keep something in reserve because I didn't know exactly what was going to be asked of me.

But, now that this "finish" line is in sight, I feel like a new, free-er me.  I feel so much more open to loving and being fun for my kids.  HH is still the Captain of Fun, but I feel relaxed enough in this role now to let loose a bit and truly enjoy what I have in front of me freely.

And it's been fun to watch the surprise on my childrens' faces when I surprise them by being silly, or share a conspiratorial giggle at a slightly inappropriate moment, or cut them some slack with their chores, or whatever.

There has just been a lot more fun, freedom, and joy in my life as a mom.

I feel like I'm kind of restating myself here.  Mainly because I'm not yet satisfied with my description of these feelings I've been having.  But, I think I'm never going to get there.  The point is, something inside has changed and I'm loving things in a way I wasn't capable of before.

And it's awesome.

My children are amazing.   And so, going forward, I dedicate this blog to them and to all of the Joyful Moments we have yet to come.  Together.

To Sweet P, my patient and forgiving sweet heart.  She is truly our guinea pig and I can see how she was blessed with a great inner strength and confidence and independence so she can weather our mistakes and learning process in this whole parenting thing.  When I think about it, I feel so bad for her because I was so wrapped up in this depression for so much of her early life, it's like I completely missed out.  And I feel like I'm just getting to know her in some ways.  But, she is amazing.  That independent streak that has been a struggle for me since she was a baby seems to be serving her well.  She seems to be totally above peer pressure and determined to be who and what she wants, no matter what.  And she is so ready to love and be loved.  She just doesn't seek it out, so I'm learning to offer it first and loving the reception I get.  Maybe my independent girl needs me quite a bit more than I initially thought.

To Little M.  He is a crazy pants.  From Day 1 he has thrown me curve ball after curve ball and always kept me guessing.  But, there is so much I need to learn from him.  He really is better than me at changing his attitude and I need to practice what I preach when it comes to this.  He is so full of life, it literally overflows sometimes.  He is an expert at living in the moment.  But, he definitely suffers from Middle Child Syndrome.  He's got so much more potential than I think we've realized.  He is so smart and talented and I feel bad for how often he's lived in his big sister's shadow.  No wonder he's a crazy pants--he's got to get the attention somehow!  He's always been my snuggler, though.  And I love that he'll just come up and give me a hug, or snuggle into my lap, or rub his cheek against mine.  He is such a comfort to me.

To Baby B.  My volatile little toddler.  When he is happy, there is nothing sweeter or more fun than he. When he is unhappy, it's indescribably awful.  But, he almost always wants a snuggle with me (and his sheets) to make it better.  And being able to comfort him is somehow comforting to me in return.  Watching him laugh uncontrollably while a tear is still trickling down from his big blue eyes is a regular occurrence here.  He is so sensitive to my moods and that is actually helping me find the motivation to control my frustration and sadness.  I'm impressed by his empathy.  Shortly before he was born, I began to feel very strongly that his was an extra strong spirit and destined to accomplish something really great.  This is no way detracts from my expectations for my other children, it's just what I felt about him.  And I think his willfulness will serve him well to that end.  It's my task now to help him learn how to direct that for good.

To Darling A.  She is so new, but I feel in someways that I know her the best.  In those first few weeks,  when she locked eyes with me, something happened and I could feel this strong pre-existing connection, like she actually knew me.  This is also a long and personal story that I'm not going to share here.  I know that Darling A was absolutely meant to be a part of our family and that her being born at this time was no mistake.  She has already been a help to me in ways I can't describe.  Sometimes, it's like I've felt her willing me to be happy and pull out of it on my darker days since she was born.  She's beautiful and amazing and I can't wait to see what the future will bring.

I can't wait for the future with all of them.  They are precious and priceless and magical and wonderful children and I feel so blessed that I get to raise them.  I'm excited for all of the Joyful Moments we have yet to share together!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 1000

I made it!

And I've been composing a long meaningful post in my head off and on over the past week, or so.

But, I'm not gonna lie--today kind of stunk.

It wasn't all too terrible, when you get right down to it.  But, it was hard and I didn't get the sleep; I needed to cheerfully endure today's challenges.  So, I'm going to wait and type up my meaningful post tomorrow when it will mean more for me.

Not that today was without Joyful Moments--laughing with a friends at the gym, having my hair styled by two two-year olds simultaneously, Baby B's beautiful eyes, and this great comment from Little M after I told him we were going to the chiropractor:

"But, I don't want to get digested."

(For those not familiar with with chiropractic, it's "adjusted", but I liked his version better.)

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and excellent digestion!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 999: Working Hard

I realized something today--life the past little while (i.e. the recent string of good days) has been relatively easy.

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been devoid of tantrums and challenges, it just hasn't hit one of those completely overwhelming moments.

I realized that today because today we did hit one.  I was exhausted and hungry after an intense workout and a tantrum-filled grocery trip.  Both of the youngest two were full on screaming.  I had a carload of groceries to put away.  And plenty of clutter from Baby B's morning exploits.  And dirty hands.

The germophobe in me is always on high alert after a trip to the grocery store.

Anyway, maybe it doesn't sound all that bad in writing.  But, in the heat of the moment it was intense and stressful.

I wanted to cave in, but I didn't.  I just plodded through tackling one disaster at a time until they were all tackled.

Not necessarily a Joyful Moment, but a triumphant one, at least.

And then, the rest of the day went well enough.

Except violin practice.  It went better than well enough.  Both kids did really well.  This one worked really hard especially.  And I was quite proud of him.  That was a Joyful Moment.

Wishing you all the satisfying Joyful Moments that come at the end of some really hard work!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 998: Football Season

Today was a good Monday.  We made it to school on time, I ran 7 miles, Darling A took a nice long nap while Baby B and I turned chore time into play time.  I even whipped up a new batch of goat's milk soap-based liquid laundry detergent.

Yeah, I'm feeling awesome.

Joyful Moments for all of the above achievements.

Family Home Evening started off with a rousing bit of football.  I love the look of joy on Sweet P's face here.  If Darling A hadn't decided to re-decorate my pants, I would have enjoyed it more.  Instead I got to change both of our outfits.

Good Times.

I like my life.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments where the good times roll!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 997: Holy Gnocchi!

Today was a nice Sunday.  I'm finally starting to get enough stress out of my life that I can enjoy these again.

After church, and a nice nap, I did something I've wanted to do for a while--I made gnocchi!

This was actually sweet potato gnocchi.  Paired with a Gouda cheese sauce.  It was amazing.  And making the gnocchi was downright fun.

Except when  Baby B tried to be overly helpful.

But, it was a Joyful Moment and definitely something I want to make again.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and just the right amount of help!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 996: Fitness

Started the day off with  yoga again.  You really can't go wrong there.  Especially when the instructor is in town and there is no risk of having to teach unexpectedly.

There is a rock wall at our gym.  HH decided it was time for the kids to give it a go.  So, I snuck out of yoga for a bit to take a peak.  It was fun to watch Little M trying hard.  He doesn't always like to try hard at anything.  And I guess HH had to bribe him a bit with some ice cream.  Sweet P rose to the challenge and made it all the way to the top of the easiest course.  I'm so proud of her!  A Joyful Moment in hearing that, for sure.

After lunch and some down time, HH took the kids out to ride bikes while I went shopping.  By myself.  Not for groceries.  That was  Joyful Moment in so many ways!  Since my birthday party was a bust, I decided to spend a little of the money that would have gone to that on myself instead.  I'm way overdue for some new workout clothes.  And since I work out six days a week, I feel completely justified here.

That was fun.  I went a little overboard and had about 20 things to try on, I think.  Don't worry, I didn't get them all.  Just the ones that fit all the major criteria--comfortable, practical, and on sale.  Except for a pair of running tights.  They were not on sale, but they were so comfortable.  I've had my other running tights for 15 years.  That is half of my life, friends.  Again, I felt completely justified in making that purchase.

And I'm almost excited for it to turn cold, just so I can run in them.  That probably makes me more than a little bit weird.  But the anticipation of it is a Joyful Moment for me, anyway.

I came home to this.  The kids rode their bikes the whole time I was gone.  HH is such a great daddy and husband.  He made this little ramp for the kids and they love it.  They watched a motor cross thing while with their grandparents and now have great aspirations.  This ramp makes them feel SO cool.  And it has given Little M the motivation he needed to finally master his bike riding skills and he is doing so great!  I'm so proud of him.  And my HH for finding a method for this.

HH and I played a game tonight.  He won.  It was his first time ever beating me in that game (Dominion).  I wish I could say I was happy for him.  But then, I wouldn't be me. (c:

Wishing you all Joyful Moments in which you are entirely you!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 995: Another Good One

Life has settled into routine goodness.

I'm still dealing with some congestion, so I did yoga yet again this morning, but it was nice.  I'm slowly getting my strength and balance back  And doing yoga always brings me Joyful Moments.  It just feels right.

After, Baby B and I went and hung out with a friend and her son.  Social interaction is another thing that always brings me Joyful Moments.

And then a good, laid back afternoon with the kids and my beautiful Darling A.  She is quite the chatter box every time we make eye contact and I LOVE it!  It's such a Joyful Moment to listen to her talk and see her face light up with smiles.

And then a quiet evening in with HH.  We were thinking about going out this weekend since I never got my birthday date with him (notice how long I manage to drag on the celebrations?), but I decided to wait until I'm feeling completely well again, so I can really enjoy it.

Life is goodness.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and quite a bit of goodness of your own!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 994: How Does Your Amaginary Friend Help You?

When Sweet P brings her graded homework home each day, I don't look it over too thoroughly.  She's a good student and works hard.  So, when I saw a star on the front of her work today, I congratulated her and set it aside for HH to see and thought no more of it.

When I pulled it out tonight to show HH, it was turned over.  I hadn't noticed the back this afternoon.

I about died laughing before I was even able to show it to HH.  I was/am just as confued as her teacher apparently was.  But, I love it.  I'm filing this one away to show her when she's older.  I'm interested to hear her explanation when I ask her about it tomorrow.

Anyway, aside from that Joyful Moment, today has been just an average good day.  Plenty of Joyful Moments, none really monumental.  But, I'm really quite pleased with it that way.  It's been several good days in a row and things finally feel like I'm getting back to a good place with more permanent footing.

An elderly gentleman helped me out with the watermelon I purchased today.  Being served by strangers is always a Joyful Moment.  And nice because it just engenders good feelings between me and the world.

Baby B and I had some good times playing with a new ball.

I finally found enough time with two hands free to bathe and brush Z.

I baked up a delicious frozen dinner a friend had brought shortly after Darling A was born.  Everyone loved it and it was so nice to not have to cook while I'm still feeling kind of icky.

But, I'm continuing to feel a little healthier each day.

So, yeah, nothing huge.  Besides the gut busting laughter I had going on over Sweet P's homework, that is. (c:  But plenty of little things adding up to make it a good day.  And those never go under appreciated around here.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments with your own amaginary friend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 993: Eat Pie and Be Well

HH gave me a priesthood blessing last night because I was in so much pain and discomfort I didn't know how I could possibly sleep.  A few hours in, I felt the fever finally break and I was able to sleep a bit.

I woke up this morning feeling a billion times better!  You can imagine what a great Joyful Moment that was.  Why are fevers so painful?

Anyway, I knew I still needed to play it smart and not jump right back into things, so I took Z for a short walk this morning instead of my originally scheduled pace run.  It was kind of sad to just walk, but I was feeling very tired and a little sicker by the end of it, so I know it was a good thing I didn't do more.  It about drove poor Z crazy to walk past the squirrels so slowly, though.

Tonight a bunch of my friends were gathering at Village Inn for free pie and to say "good bye" to one friend moving away and "happy birthday" to another.  I didn't feel totally up to going, but I wanted to let both friends know that I care, so I went for a little while.  Although, it ended up being a longer little while than I intended because the waitress was quite overwhelmed by our large group and I didn't get my check until much later than I'd wanted it.

Still, it was a Joyful Moment.  I love my friends and talking with them is always fun.  And they are kind and don't seem to mind that I really do talk too much.  They love me anyway.  I am truly blessed.

This is what I came home to.  Poor Darling A seems to have a milder case of what I have, so when she was sound asleep before I left, I thought it would be best to just leave her home and in her own bed.  Unfortunately, she didn't stay sound asleep and HH had to study for an upcoming exam.  So, they had some father-daughter bonding time.  I thought this was pretty cute.  He said she'd been content this way for about 40 minutes, but of course, once she saw I was home, she started fussing for some more attention.  Cute little girl.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and wellness!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 992: I've Got The Fever

And not the good kind of fever.

The kind that comes with aches and/or serious pain and chills and coughing and awfulness.

I was still kind of in denial about how bad this was, so I went to yoga this morning thinking that it would help me feel better.

Not so much.

Turns out it just made me feel more pain, more sick, more tired.


So, today was a bit rough.  Baby B doesn't respond well when I'm not at my best, so he was even more mischievous than usual.  Fun for us all.

That being said, today was not as bad as I'm sure it could have been.  There were some Joyful Moments snuggling with Darling A and a sweet picture from Sweet P wishing me to feel better soon.

I hope so too.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and good health!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 991: Great Planes

Originally, we planned on spending this, the last "unofficial" day of summer at the beach.  But, it was supposed to be pretty hot, so when some friends suggested going to the air and space museum, I was interested.

And as I began feeling increasingly unwell last night and into this morning, it sounded more and more appealing.  Fortunately, everyone else was on board as well.  And when it ended up being a rainy (still hot) day, that pretty much clinched it for us.

I felt pretty sick most of the time, but still had Joyful Moments checking out all of the huge planes with my excited kiddos.  And exploring meteorites and asteroids in space.  It was good times.

And we had Chinese for dinner.  That's always fun.

But now, I'm feeling sort of deathly ill, so it's early to bed for me.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments alongside some big aircraft!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 990: Blessed Day

Today was Darling A's blessing day.

In the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we don't baptize our kids until they're 8 years old.  So, the closest thing we have to a Christening is called giving the child a name and a blessing.

I was sad because for the first time, none of our extended family was able to make it.  For this reason, we thought about doing it last month while we were out visiting.  However, I had a really strong feeling that we were supposed to do it here at the North Pole and invite all of our friends to come.

So, we did.

Only a handful of our friends from other faiths turned out.  And most of those mainly came to support the other baby being blessed on that same day--one of my favorite friend's darling little girl.  But, one came just for us.

Not to mention, all of my fabulous friends who are members of our faith.  Thanks for coming guys!

Plus, while saying my morning prayer, I felt very strongly that my grandma (for whom Darling A is named) would absolutely be present in spirit.  This makes me tear up a bit even now.  I miss and love my grandma so much!

Interesting story with my friend who came.  She only said, "maybe", so I wasn't really expecting her.  Another friend said she and her family would for sure be there, so when she wasn't and the meeting started, I went out in the foyer to see if she was just unsure of where to come in.  She wasn't there.  And I mentioned in passing to another friend that I was just looking for my friend.

Then HH gave Darling A her blessing and it was beautiful and wonderful and a fabulous Joyful Moment.  But, I did feel a tinge of sadness and was wondering why I felt so strongly to do it here instead of with family.  Then, my other friend came in and told me that my friend was out there looking for the us and the blessing.  So, I went out expecting the friend who'd guaranteed she'd come and was surprised to see my friend who'd been a "maybe".  (Are you following all of the different friends, here?).

Anyway, I thanked her for coming, broke the sad news that the blessing was over, but invited her to come in and sit with us.  And she did.  My faith is such a huge part of my life and my happiness, so it was a Joyful Moment to be able to share this with her in a small way.  I even got to share my testimony, since it was Fast and Testimony meeting.

The rest of church went well.  Everyone came up to admire our sweet little baby and after church we got to go to a little celebration in honor of Sweet P and my friend's baby who was also blessed.  My friend was so sweet to include us in this and that was a Joyful Moment for us all.  We got to visit with our friends some more, meet her family, and eat lots of yummy treats!

Speaking of treats, I tried out a new cookie bar recipe (with my own little twist) and brought that to share.  As I cut into it at the party, I discovered that the middle was quite doughy.  I was so sad, as I knew no one would eat it now.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when people kept coming up and asking who made it and also to see how quickly it disappeared--middle first, actually!  And, if you know me, you know how much I love food and how much I love making food and how much I love being complimented on the food I've made, so you know this was a big Joyful Moment for me.

Here's a little family photo we took after the blessing.  A miracle just to get everyone to sit still and look at the camera!  Fortunately, Baby B was quite intrigued by the self timer setting and this was the most cooperative he's been for the camera in months!

The rest of the day was nice and relaxed.  Knowing that tomorrow is a holiday and HH will be home is a Joyful Moment every time I think of it.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments and friends great enough to fill in for family when needed!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 989: The Bobcat Does Move

Three things stick out to me when I look at this photo:

1.  His nostrils are fortuitously clear;

2.  His fingernails need to be cleaned and trimmed;

3.  He has such beautiful eyes.

Anyway, this morning was nice.  I realized yesterday that I forgot to make an appointment for Darling A at the gym (we have to reserve a spot for babies since they require more individual care) for this morning.  I was a little disappointed to miss my yoga, especially since my neck and shoulder are still quite sore from whatever I tweaked the other day.  But, I was grateful for the opportunity to sleep in for once.

Darling A kind of missed that memo and was not as cooperative as she could have been, but she eventually clued in and I did get a little extra sleep before she decided she'd had enough and it was absolutely necessary that we get up.  Right now.  Still, that bit of extra sleep was a Joyful Moment.

Then I tried out a new recipe for oatmeal pancakes and it was delicious.  Especially, topped with some homemade blueberry rhubarb jelly from a friend.  Joyful Moment, of course.  Because I'm so in love with yummy food.

And then a fantastic Joyful Moment in at last getting my hair cut.  I'm maybe kind of sort of growing it out.  But, it looks so much nicer.  Of course, it always looks better after my friend/stylist styles it.  But, the cut is really cute, too.  If I do say so myself.  And some fun chatter with her all along the way.

After I got home and we ate lunch and took forever to get going, we went to the zoo.  Which is where the above photo was taken.  That was on the train ride at the end of our zoo visit.  It was a Joyful Moment.  We had a lot of fun.  It's been a while since HH came with us to the zoo.  But, I needed him to come since we had some free train ride coupons and I was a bit apprehensive about getting everyone on and off of the train by myself now that we have Darling A.

And, for the first time since we moved here, the bobcat was awake and walking around his enclosure.  This is because it was almost lunch time for him and he paced back and forth across the spot where the keeper eventually came to feed him.  I felt a little stressed out just watching him pacing back and forth.  But then, he ate his ground up horse meat (sick!) and laid down to take a digestive little nap.  And peace was restored.

Wishing you all Joyful Moments that involve no horse meat whatsoever!