Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Decade in Review

It's so hard to believe the first decade of the 2000's is over. I remember so clearly as a child thinking about the year 2020 and how that sounded so futuristic and "out there". I was CERTAIN we would be using hovercrafts as our main source of transportation by then. Now we're at the advent of the decade that leads to it. Bizarre.

This past decade was the first I spent entirely as an adult. And yet, I still don't feel grown up. Still so much to learn I guess. I was trying to remember what life was like 10 years ago. So much has happened. I decided to settle on a little summary of the highs and lows. So, here ya go:

2000
Highs: first year of marriage, graduating from college, moving away from "home" and starting out in a new city so hubby could start grad school, meeting our first great "couple" friends.
Lows: getting sick with mono the last month of school and battling it for about 6 months, getting a "real" job and discovering that money doesn't stretch as far as it did when I lived with mom and dad.

2001
Highs:
getting our first "baby" - a pug named Max, discovering on Christmas day that our second baby and first princess was on the way, moving into our bigger 2 bedroom apartment.
Lows: juggling life as a fulltime employee in a "put food on the table" sort of job, while hubby worked hard as a fulltime student and parttime employee, seeing each other often only in the early morning or the wee hours of the night, worrying about the state of the world following 9/11.

2002
Highs:
welcoming Princess #1 to our little family, selling our little two door Beretta (that was a pain in my arse by the end!) and buying our 4 door "family" car.
Lows: struggling with hyperemesis during the early part of my pregnancy and missing nearly a month of work, thus using up all my paid vacation time, going back to work fulltime when Princess #1 was 10 weeks old.

2003:
Highs:
hubby finishing his graduate degree, entertaining job opportunities for hubby, my last day at work.
Lows: having several job leads for hubby not pan out, worrying about the future and how to provide.

2004:
Highs:
finding the "right" job for hubby and starting a new adventure across the country, meeting new friends, discovering Princess #2 was on the way and 9 months later on Christmas day holding her in my arms for the first time.
Lows: hubby passing out the night before we began our cross-country move resulting in an overnight hospital stay and bills that swamped us for years later, beginning to wonder if the "right" job for hubby was really the "right" job, missing being close to family.

2005:
Highs:
taking a God-directed leap of faith and moving back "home", having a job fall into my lap that more than provided for our family while hubby was looking for a job, hubby finding a job.
Lows: battling fear while taking that leap of faith, hubby being out of work for a few months, having to give up my stay at home mom status to work fulltime again, wondering what in the world we were doing with our lives and what our purpose was, my grandfather passing away.

2006:
Highs:
getting involved with Northview Community Church which forever changed our view about what a church should be/do, hubby working his way up the ladder at work, surprising him with a positive pregnancy test - Princess #3, buying our mini-van.
Lows: my boss getting fired and subsequently my job become more inflexible and less accomodating, juggling being a fulltime (pregnant) employee and mom and feeling like a failure at all of it.

2007:
Highs:
the birth of Princess #3, job promotion for hubby which brought a change of city and an opportunity to me to work only parttime, buying our first home.
Lows: realizing owning a home is a huge responsibility, learning to deal with the demands of hubby's new job, balancing three children - we are officially outnumbered.

2008:
Highs:
learning how to balance three children and figuring out hubby and I pretty much rock at it (most of the time), getting the shock of a lifetime when we learned Princess #4 was on the way, Princess #1 starting Kindergarten.
Lows: wondering if this was "it", had we arrived at where we would be forever, because we weren't sure we were where we wanted to be, hubby's grandfather passing away.

2009:
Highs:
welcoming Princess #4 to our family and officially parking the baby train, discovering a true peace and contentment about where we are in life, getting to quit my parttime job to stay at home with my babies and help a friend out by watching hers too, celebrating 10 amazing years of marriage and knowing it's only going to get better.
Lows: Princess #4's traumatic birth and my healing process, my grandmother passing away, discovering that money REALLY doesn't stretch once you're a family of 6.

Out with the old, in with the new. Here's to the next 10 years!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Leave Me

Christmas is in process. I'm officially exhausted. Stay tuned. I'll be back blogging soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Activites

I thought I should do a quick update on my attempt to be all "Super Mom-like" with our cutesy little Advent Activities I have planned for each day in December.

First, let it be known this is a huge strain on me. I am so not a crafty mom that always has fun things for the kids to do in the afternoon following school or during the long summer months. Our days are more likely spent with the Princesses going back and forth between playing and fighting, and whining to me about being bored to which I respond, "go read a book or something". So, to actually have an activity planned for every day for 24 days in a row... well that is a Big Deal.

In a nutshell: the activities that involve going somewhere, doing something, spending money, getting out of the house - those are a hit. Going to see Santa = awesome. Going to see Christmas lights = fabulous. Going to get ice cream (haven't done this yet but I already know) = extreme Princess happiness.

The activities that revolve around glue and construction paper and creative juices - yeah, not so much. Oh Princess #1 was perfectly happy making paper snowflakes, until she got frustrated because she couldn't cut through the layers of paper. Princess #2 loved the idea of stringing popcorn and cranberries, until she stuck her finger with the needle and got in trouble for eating all the popcorn. Princess #3 could just flat out care less. Sigh.

So. What have I learned from this, now 11 days into December? Advent Activities aren't always the perfect Norman Rockwell scenes I envisioned (and dang it, I was SURE that stringing cranberries would fit that bill exactly!). There are more days filled with whining about the activity not being fun enough, rather than excitement over what cool and exciting thing Your Majesty planned next. And I'm pretty sure I've totally set myself up for MAJOR damage control when Dec. 26th rolls around and I have nothing fun planned.

But we've made memories. I've got pictures of every activity (carefully taken of course, so as to promote the Norman Rockwell-ness, rather than the actual Griswold catastrophe most of them turned into). The Princesses look forward to finding out each day what their activity is. I look forward to spending special time with them. I think I'll probably attempt to do this again next year. But first, I gotta figure out how to get all the glitter off my kitchen floor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

6 Years

I was just complaining to hubby this evening about the laundry monster that has invaded my home. We are talking a full scale attack here. Nearly all the dresser drawers are empty due to the clothing being either dirty and in hampers, or clean... and in hampers. Seriously. Do we really wear this many clothes? Ridiculous.

In desperation I wailed about the overwhelming urge to throw it all out and start over. I can do that right? That wouldn't be TOO bad...

I asked hubby if he remembered laundry like this when he was a kid. Because I sure don't. My mom was the queen of laundry. No dirty sock dare touch the floor lest it be swept up by her hands and shoved into the waiting washing machine. She still gets up the second the dryer timer dings. She puts me to shame. Really.

Hubby doesn't remember the laundry monster at his house when he was a kid either. Figures.

But, he quickly pointed out to me, he and his sister were in school most of the day and his mom was home alone. What was she to do? Eat bon bons and watch soap operas? Well, maybe... but there was plenty of time to squeeze in some laundry as well.

And then the light bulb went on. Right now I only have one princess in school full time. That means that for every waking moment of the day I've got at least two other princesses (and sometimes 3) vying for my attention. Of course this is why I have a mountain of laundry that is threatening to overtake my bedroom (of course it is. I'm not wasting time on the computer and ignoring said laundry. Ever.).

Back to the lightbulb - SO. In about 6 years, all four princesses will be in school full time (and the angels in heaven rejoice). AND by that point princess #1 will be nearly 13. Which is DEFINITELY old enough to have some laundry duties (all in the name of teaching her how to care for her things and to be responsible of course). So I figure in about 6 years not only will I have all the time in the world to do my laundry, but I'll also have a helper to keep the monster at bay.

So in 6 years my laundry battle will be over. In 6 years I'll be able to reclaim my laundry room... and bathroom... and bedroom... In 6 years I will have done approx. 3,756 more loads since today (don't ask how I came to that number. It ain't pretty). In 6 years.... oh, is that all?

I'm not sure I'm going to make it that long...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Change of Plans

I was all set to sit down yesterday afternoon and whine and complain about the state of things. We were invited to two Christmas parties scheduled for yesterday evening. And we couldn't go to either because they were "no kids" parties. Do you know how expensive it is to get a babysitter for several hours for 4 kids? Or how hard it is to ask friends to watch your 4 kids for several hours for free, even though they have their own kids and lives to deal with? I'll be honest. I was hurt. I WANTED a night out with hubby. Sans kids. To not be "mommy" for awhile. To just hang with friends and have a good time. Or heck, I would have been satisfied with going to the parties WITH the kids. Just to have a night out. But no. I mean, I get it. I really do. I know not everyone's children are as well behaved as ours (ha!). I understand. But understanding it doesn't mean that it doesn't still sting a bit.

So I was going to go off here about that little situation. I was annoyed. And I was ready to vent. But then, yesterday happened. And it was exactly what I needed.

Normally, Sundays are hard. Like, "I want to crawl back into bed with cotton stuffed in my ears and the blanket over my head" hard. We manage to get ourselves out of the house nearly every day for school or what have you. But for whatever reasons, getting out of the house for church on Sunday is the hardest. The kids are crazed, we can't find the right things to wear, we're racing against the clock. Yesterday was no exception. The princesses were fighting, I was pouting about the aforementioned parties, hubby was downing the coffee. It was one of THOSE mornings.

But by afternoon, something had changed. I'm not really sure what. I think it was a combination of little things over the course of the day. We at lunch together at the table. Hubby played Wii with the girls. We both got to take a little cat nap while Princesses #3 and #4 napped. We worked together on a preschool art project for Princess #2. Hubby decided to not leave me with the kids to go to his work party alone (I think this played a HUGE part in the change in my attitude). We spent the evening together walking through a big light display here in town (and froze our tushies off, but it was worth it!).

We didn't spend a dime. We didn't party with friends. We were "mommy" and "daddy" all.day.long. And it was perfect. It was exactly as it should be. And when the day was over, the princesses were tucked into bed and hubby and I had some time to ourselves, I didn't feel like I had missed out on anything. I didn't feel slighted anymore.

It's hard being a parent. Just. hard. And I think sometimes I get so caught up in wishing for time away. A break. Time off. We always want what we can't have, right? I mean, adult time is important for a mommy and daddy. It keeps you connected. It makes you better parents. I think the adage "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is so true in many instances. But I've forgotten, that being with my kids can be just as fulfilling and rejuvenating. Why do I overlook that so much? Why do I feel so entitled to "time away"? Maybe we've (in general) become too consumed with our own time. Doing what we want. With who we want. When we want. Being a parent is about not having your own time anymore. But that doesn't mean you have to give anything up. I think I learned yesterday that although it might not be "my time" and I might not really be the one calling the shots (because let's face it - when kids are in the house, they run the show), I can still be filled up. Hubby and I can still connect.

I'm sure I'll still have moments where I selfishly desire my own time over all else. But hopefully those will be fewer and farther between. Because yesterday was perfect. And I wouldn't mind "sharing" my time like that all the time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Break Out Your Norman Rockwell, It's December!

Welcome to December! Let the insanity begin! If I thought life was crazy before, throw in a little Christmas, a little birthday, a little anniversary (our 10th to be exact) and you've got a recipe for losing your mind in the hustle and bustle.

I hate that. Christmas is supposed to be a time of reflection, of family togetherness and peace and harmony...

Oh who am I kidding? Do I live in a Norman Rockwell painting? Last I checked, um no. While I'm sure that the perfect December exists for families on his canvas, let's face it, the kids are IMMOBILE. No wonder it's perfect!

No really, our December is ca-razy. Hubby and I did not plan well. First we thought it would be brilliant to get married a week before Christmas. Then we decided to add to it by having Princess #2 on Christmas Day. OK, that one wasn't planned. Scattered in between you've got Nutcracker performances, special church services, Christmas parties, present shopping and this year I went all "Norman Rockwell perfect" and had to do an Activity Advent calendar complete with special activities or crafts to do every day. Yeah, we'll be lucky to actually do all 24 things I've planned. But gosh darn it, we're gonna try!

I hope that this December doesn't fly by in a blur. I look forward to it so much and then I blink and it's over. Talk about let-down. I know things won't be perfect. We still have family juggling to figure out. There are bound to be temper tantrums. Broken ornaments. I'm sure we'll forget something along the way. But I hope in the midst of it we manage to make a few memories. I'm not asking for Norman Rockwell, but a *little* perfection would be nice. In the small moments, the moments that matter the most.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

I don't have a ton of time tonight. Thanksgiving is nearing it's end. Tummies are full. Leftovers are in the fridge. The babes are sleeping and the rest of the family is gathering to relax in front of the TV. But I couldn't let this moment go by without offering up my public declaration of thanksgiving. I am so blessed. Blessed beyond words, beyond what I deserve. So many people in this world are hurting this very night. So many people are going without, while I live in abundance. So many people are lost, wandering through life without hope. I think of this, and I am overwhelmed. "Thanks" doesn't begin to cover it. Doesn't even begin to encompass the gratitude I feel. Yes, I complain. Yes, I grow weary. Yes, I wave my white flag many days. But I wouldn't give it up, not a second of it. And on this Thanksgiving day, I'm reminded of how fortunate I am. So, thanks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Out To Get Me

Why is it that everything seems to go wrong on my busiest days? It's like the universe KNOWS and conspires against me. Today has been one of those days from you-know-where.

First, all FOUR princesses wake up before 6:30 am. This is bad. Especially bad since princess #4 typically sleeps until 8am and the other 3 know they are not supposed to get out of their beds until 7am. But for whatever reason, today was a day for breaking rules, and that started with 3 little bodies waking me from a (not so) deep sleep at an ungodly hour.

Then, princess #4 is getting over a cold (which she so lovingly passed on to me) and is in the "I feel like crap and want to make everyone else pay for it" stage. Great. She's stuck like glue to me. Which makes it SO easy (not) to pack for our trip to the grandparents for Thanksgiving...

Which I'm supposed to be doing. Packing. By myself. For 6 people. For 5 days. And I'm supposed to do this with a baby stuck like glue to me and be ready by the time school is done so we can hit the road.

And THAT brings me to the fact that in the midst of this I have to load up the princesses too little for school TWICE for two different Thanksgiving feasts. We've survived the first - at Princess #2's preschool. I stood in a overcrowded room and watched princess #2 eat while trying to keep princess #3 and #4 entertained and contained. Good times. One more to go, this time with Princess #1's class. Only now I'll have princess #2 to keep entertained as well. Le sigh.

And on top of it all, I'm sick. Thanks to that cold from princess #4, I can't breathe through my nose, my head wants to explode and I'm congested. I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep at all last night due to that. Which makes today THAT much better.

Ugh. Happy Thanksgiving, eh? I'll get to that post... maybe tomorrow... after I sleep...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Weeks Postpartum

What not to say to the new mom that is two weeks postpartum:
(this is for you R!)

1. "It took you nine months to pack that weight on, you'll carry it around for at least 9 more months." (yeah, because a two week postpartum mommy LOVES to be reminded that she looks fat)

2. "I think the washing machine stopped. Let me hold the baby so you can get the laundry." (um, no. The two week postpartum mommy has immunity from any and all household chores. YOU get the laundry)

3. "Oh, just wait until..." (yes, we know that anyone who has been on the journey called parenthood at least a day longer than the two week postpartum mommy is going to have horror stories. It does not make you an expert, so be quiet. No one wants to hear about your sore nipples or projectile throw up)

4. "It's your turn." (two week postpartum daddies: don't go there)

5: "Before you know it that baby will be all grown up." (I'm guilty of this one. Truth is, yes, time passes. But the two week postpartum mommy is lucky if she knows which day it is now, why burden her with reality just yet?)

6: "You're nursing?? That's gross!" or "You're formula feeding? You're poisoning your baby!" (not your decision. Get over it)

7: "I didn't even feel my contractions. I just pushed once and the baby was here!" (Just like no two week postpartum mommy wants to hear your horror stories, she likewise doesn't want to hear about your perfect labor, perfect recovery, how you wore your regular jeans home from the hospital, how your perfect baby slept 8 hours at night from day one, etc. etc. etc. Besides, you know what they say about karma...)

8: "You know, it's not about you anymore." (what do you mean? Of course it's about the two week postpartum mommy. the mommy gets to call the shots, don't get in her way)

9: "I remember with my babies..." (yes, we all have anecdotal stories to tell. But to the two week postpartum mommy, no other baby in the world matters except hers. That's her right. Save your memories for your scrapbook)

10: "You look BAD. Are you sure you're getting enough sleep?" (are you stupid?)


A Life Well Spent

Today, in approximately a half hour, a great man of God will be laid to rest. Taken too soon from his earthly home by a terrible accident, he leaves behind his wife and four children. I did not know him personally, and yet the legacy he's leaving behind is so hard to ignore and I've thought many times of his family this past week as they endured the most horrific of nightmares.

My husband and I often sat behind this family in church. As young newlyweds then, I was captured by this tight-knit family, their four children about the age of our children now. Many years have passed since then, and yet less than a month ago I found myself once again sitting behind this family in church, while home visiting my parents. Their children much bigger than I remembered, I watch as he stood next to his daughter, with his arm around her. Even from behind I could see the love and pride emanating from his body. It made such an impression on me I can still picture the scene clearly.

His untimely death and the resulting rallying of the community has left me much to think about. The first thing that comes to my mind is his wife and children. The pain they must feel almost paralyzes me when I think about it. Putting myself in his wife's place, I really do not think I could go on. How does one do that? How do you get out of bed in the morning? How do you face another day? How do you BREATHE?

Secondly, I am amazed at the outpouring of love by their community in this family's time of sorrow. Quickly scanning Facebook, I've seen offers of prayers, support, fellow grieving, pictures, memories, stories, the list goes on. So many people this 6th grade math teacher and golf coach impacted. So many lives that are forever changed because he crossed paths with them. It almost makes me sad to think that it's usually this way - that people rarely ever know the impact their lives have made until they're gone. Seeing this unfold has inspired me to try to let people know NOW. When they've made a difference in my life, to not wait until it's too late.
And finally, I am more grateful than ever to know that this is not the end for him nor does death have to be the end for anyone. I could not walk through this life on earth believing that once it was over, that's it. Am I terrified at the thought of one day prematurely losing my spouse or one of my children? Absolutely, to the point where it makes me physically ill to dwell on the thought. Do I think that believing in heaven makes the loss of someone OK? No. I believe it's OK to NOT be OK. I think it's OK to be angry, to hurt, to grieve, to ask God why. But I also know that He has peace that passes ALL understanding. And I know that someday this man will be reunited with his family in heaven. And until then they will be held up by God's grace and peace.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How Sweet The Sound

"Mamamama Mamamamama Mamamamaaaaaaaaaaaaa"

Music to this mama's ears.

Princess #4 is on a milestone roll lately. First standing up without holding onto anything. Then saying "mama". Now walking behind her little push car. I predict first steps by Christmas.

Is it ok to ask Santa to stop time??

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yogurt Reminders

I drug out some old home movies the other night.  Video we had taken when Princess #1 was our one and only.  We recorded everything back then.  Oh look, Princess sneezed!  Grab the camera!  Ah, Princess is headed to the potty!  Grab the camera!  Princess is sleeping and doing nothing but laying there.  Grab the camera!

My poor Princesses #2,3 and 4.  Let me just apologize now for the great unbalance in amount of face time you get on film.  I could come up with a good excuse.  But I have none.  It's just your lot in life.

Anyway, back to the movies.  I was particularly captured by a 5 minute or so clip of Princess #1 eating when she was about 18 months old.  I was pregnant at the time with Princess #2 but did not know it yet.  I was a stay at home mom and was the videographer, although it must have been a Saturday because I could hear hubby's voice in the background.  Princess #1 was standing on a chair in our dining room, at the table, with a container of yogurt.  She had a spoon and was feeding herself.  Nicely dressed.  No bib.  You can imagine the dexterity of an 18 month old.  Especially with runny yogurt.

Hubby and I were laughing in the background as she tried with all her might to get the yogurt into her mouth.  She laughed with us.  She turned around and put her yogurt-y hands on the chair and kissed the back of it with her yogurt-y face.  As I watched, I waited to hear myself reprimand her for getting the chair messy.  But I never did.  I waited to hear the admonition to sit down.  It never came.  I waited to see hubby come onto the screen with a wet wash cloth and clean Princess #1 before she could get anything else messy.  But he never showed.

My how things have changed.  Hubby and I mused about how differently we would handle such a situation now.  Surely the reminders to sit down and not touch anything or make a mess would be the first to come from our mouths.  It occurred to me as I thought about this about how hubby and I tend to run our home in a "proactive" mode as opposed to a "reactive" mode.  If there's no mess made in the first place, then there's no mess to clean up.  I'm not sure at what point we made the switch, since clearly neither one of us were too concerned at the time of that video's filming about the state of our dining room chair or anything else within close proximity.  

It makes me a little bit sad, to be honest.  It makes me fear that I spend too much time worrying about the mess, and too little time enjoying the moment.  It was a good reminder, to see myself 6 years earlier, much more relaxed, much more joyful in the moment.  Obviously, our home has changed quite a bit since that video and I know that with that other things have to change too.  Allowing the Princesses to run amuck in the name of enjoying the moment isn't always the best path to a calm and nurturing home.  But there must be a balance in there right? If my lovely friend Michelle can allow her 6 children to throw old pumpkins off the roof and survive, surely I can allow a little yogurt mess now and then. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Keeping It Fair

There are many things I feel ill-prepared for when it comes to being a mother and bringing up children. For example, I don't really enjoy cooking. It's sorta a dirge for me. I loathe meal planning. When hubby and I were first married, well, I don't think I really cooked much at all. We'd either eat out, or scrounge up something from what was in the fridge. Now suddenly I find myself with the responsibility of not only feeding 4 little mouths, but feeding them GOOD THINGS. Whole grain, trans fat, organic, gluten free, HCFS, low carb, no sugar... it's enough to make your head spin. Too much pressure! I'm getting better, meal planning and grocery list making, but it's still a chore.

Or how about the lack of sleep? I knew when I had my first bundle of pink that I wouldn't be getting much sleep in the beginning. You know lack of sleep is one of the great horror stories that mommies who have had more experience LOVE to scare new preggos with. Right up there next to labor stories. So I knew that going in. No sleep. Check. What I wasn't prepared for what how long it would last. All four of my princesses sleep through the night now, and yet I still don't. I still wake up and tiptoe into their rooms, tucking them under their covers which had gone askew, brushing their hair out of their faces, or in Princess #3's case, picking her up off the floor and putting her back in her bed. I'm beginning to think that this nightly ritual that I'm somehow programmed to perform will not ever end. Not until my princesses no longer sleep under my roof and maybe not even then. I wonder if one day I'll find myself brushing the hair off my 18 year old's face as she sleeps peacefully or waking up and breathing a prayer for my newly married princess asleep in her own home. I'd say that's worth the loss of sleep.

Tonight I encountered yet another moment I feel ill-prepared for. The old "fair" argument. As an only child until the age of 12, I'm not accustomed to sibling interaction. I really feel at a loss when my princesses go at it. I haven't quite figured out how much to get involved, if at all. And I haven't figured out how to maneuver around the whole issue of making things "fair" between them. Let's face it, life's not fair, right? And there's no way I'll be able to make EVERYTHING fair between them their whole lives. Doing so wouldn't be fair, because that would mean I was overlooking their very individuality and needs. But at the young ages of 7, 4 and 2 (Princess #4 doesn't care yet), they don't want to be individuals. They want everything to be FAIR. If one has a snack, the other 2 want one too. If one plays a game on the computer, the other 2 want a turn. That in and of itself isn't so bad to negotiate, if not a little annoying. But how do you deal with it when one child truly does deserve something special, and it's not your place to make it "fair"? Tonight, I took Princess #1 to Target per her request, with 4 shiny new quarters in her pocket (remember that tooth?!). She wanted to spend them at the dollar spot. Of course with the other princesses in tow, I knew this would be an issue. I prepared Princess #2 especially as best I could. I let her know that Princess #1 was spending the money the tooth fairy brought her and that it was her money to spend. That mommy was not buying anything at Target tonight. You can guess how well it went over, considering Princess #2 penchant for finding drama in everything. We survived, but I left wondering if I had done right by not "keeping it fair". Poor Princess #1 felt badly, even though I assured her that she didn't need to worry about her sisters' reactions. Yeah, I still feel like I'm muddling through on this one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Random Sunday Thoughts

Princess #1 came to us right before lunch and proudly showed us her loosest baby tooth, hanging disgustingly by a thread. So we've been channeling the tooth fairy this evening. She's been pulling and prodding all night, desperate to get it out. All to no avail. I refrained from telling her that it might fall out during the night, not wanting her to stay awake all worried she might swallow it. Believe me, she would. I'm thinking we'll have to make a trip to the ATM tomorrow though. The tooth fairy in our house doesn't carry cash all that often. It would be no good to be unprepared. I hope the thing falls out tomorrow, preferably at school. I'm kinda grossed out by it. In any case, it's a much different experience than our first loose tooth, thankfully.

Princess #2 has been on this drama queen kick lately. I'm chalking it up to a hormonal swing, probably in conjunction with a growth spurt. At least that's what I'm telling myself, while hoping and praying that her irrational behavior is not here to stay. She's mastered the "storm out", the "bed flop" and the "instant hysterical tears". Good times. Usually it's just pretty darn funny to watch.

Princess #3, as I type this, is thinking she's being all stealth, playing with toys and books in the dark when she should be in her bed asleep. I've contemplated several times getting up from the couch to go reprimand her and threaten to take her paci (Yes, she still has it.), but I'm just too lazy at the moment. Most nights we find her asleep on the floor somewhere in her room FAR away from her bed. In front of the bookcase, beside the dollhouse, in front of the closet door, you get the idea. It's sorta a fun game of hide and seek. We put her to bed, and 3 hours later when we check on her before heading to bed ourselves we have to find her. Yes, I've had to turn on the lights a couple of times. I long for the crib days.

Princess #4 is just officially growing up too fast. Today I caught her STANDING UP against a mirror on the wall and kissing her reflection. STANDING UP people! It's only a matter of time before she's running circles with her sisters. It seems impossible, truly. When you have a newborn there are days where time just seems to drag, particularly when they are in a crappy mood and want to do nothing but cry. And yet, then you blink and suddenly your baby is crawling around the house, won't lay still for diaper changes (ARG!) and is kissing her reflection in mirrors.

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*sigh* The paci is now being held hostage by Your Majesty. Yeah, that's going over WELL. (rolleyes)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And Then There Was None

Finally, the blasted Halloween candy is gone from our house! It only took 2 weeks, but we managed to overdose on enough candy that we finally could see the bottom of the bowl today. I swear, if I hear one more child ask if they can have a piece of candy after shoveling down the least amount of "real" food that would be required to partake in such an indulgence, I will scream! I've finally gotten to the point that I could care less if they even eat "real" food first. They glance sideways at me and I say "sure, go get some candy". Anything to get it out of the house!

Yes, I realize I could have just thrown it all away on Nov. 1st, but those older princesses, they would KNOW. And that would make me a Mean Mommy. And we just can't have that. I don't have the energy for it right now.

Mommy Guilt

I just can't be everywhere. I can't prevent every scraped knee. I can't anticipate every fall. I can't keep my kids in a bubble. And even though I know this, it still means a healthy dose of Mommy Guilt once in awhile.

Last night, I was overcome by it. I was away at a birthday party. One of the very (very) few times I get away by myself. I left the princesses in the very capable hands of hubby. All was well. Around 12:30am I called to check in and that's when my Mommy Guilt bombshell dropped. There had been a small scare. Princess #1 (who is 7 and has been sleeping on the top bunk of her bunk beds for nearly 5 years without incident) fell out of bed. She was crying in his lap when I called. Instantly, I regretted my night out.

Funny how that happens really. I think often of how nice it would be to get away, to do something without the kids for once. I look forward to evenings out with girlfriends. It's a rare opportunity I get to go out like I used to without care before I had children. I enjoy it. But the second something happens to one of my babies, my heart is home and I have to follow it. I have no choice. It's like an unseen pull, I can't be away from them. And I wouldn't have it any other way. The desire to be home trumps any prior feelings of wanting to get away.

I immediately went home, checked out Princess #1 to make sure she was fine and then curled up next to her in my bed where she slept all night, between hubby and I. I did not sleep well. Mommy Guilt was kicking my butt. The what-ifs kept running through my head. As if I would have been able to keep her from falling. As if I would have known to be there to catch her. Of course not. But Mommy Guilt is not rational. Mommy Guilt expects the impossible.

In this sense, I'm very grateful that I have cautious princesses. I'm not sure I could survive the Mommy Guilt that would accompany rough and tumble boys. I suppose I would if I had to, somehow toughen up some, not let myself be so troubled by the Mommy Guilt tape running through my head. Maybe... I have the utmost respect for those that deal with more than their fair share of Mommy Guilt. She's not very nice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Uno or Bust!

We had a classic moment occur on the Planet Pink last night.  I had just settled Princess #4 down for the night while hubby was in charge of getting the other princesses ready for bed.  I went into their room to find hubby and the princesses setting up for a quick game of Uno before bed.  Normally, the stick in the mud that I am doesn't look too kindly upon deviations from the bedtime routine.  But since hubby isn't often around for bedtime, I let the game slide this one time.

So all 5 of us sat in a circle and started to play.  Princess #1 is pretty good, and doesn't need any help deciding which cards to play.  Princess #2 needs only a *little* help, mostly just to keep her focused as she tends to get sidetracked easily.  Princess #3 was the keeper of the "rule" cards, laying them down on the pile whenever she felt like it and cheering herself on to her imagined victory.  I *thought* it was going to be a quick game, as it WAS bedtime.  So I was playing the game as such, you know, throwing it.  I thought that hubby had picked up on my subtle (ok, not so subtle) cues.  But no, he throws a Draw 4 at me right when I'm about to go out.  So the game drags on, and on, and on.  

FINALLY, hubby miraculously manages to win the game.  Now, we've talked alot about being a good sport and not being a sore loser.  The princesses know it's grounds for automatic game suspension.  Being that it was late, hubby and I began gathering up the cards.  Then it all happened so fast.  One second princess #1 was helping collect the cards, and then next second she was balling because we didn't keep going to see who got second place.  Princess #2 picked up on it and ran with it - crying and carrying on and throwing herself dramatically on her bed in a puddle of tears.  Princess #3 had been laughing and giggling with us, and suddenly stopped upon seeing her sisters' dramatic reactions and began to crying the biggest fake cry you've ever seen with the biggest crocodile tears.

Hubby and I sat frozen for a couple of seconds before bursting into hysterical laughter.  Seriously, it was one of those moments that is just so confuzzling that you can't do anything but laugh.  The overreaction by the princesses was so great it was comical.  We laughed for a good 5 minutes which of course ticked the princesses off even more.  We couldn't help it.  In all our sage adult wisdom, the whole scene was just too much.  Especially Princess #3, who had no clue why she was crying but was determined to not be outdone.  Maybe we shouldn't have laughed, but it was impossible not to.

We finally managed to calm everyone down and get them into bed.  I swear if being Your Majesty to this family doesn't prepare me for major crisis management, I don't know what will!  Next time, I think I might just hold firm to my stick in the mud standard and say no games at bedtime!  Unless I need a good laugh, of course.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A toy connoisseur

With over 7 years of parenting under our belt and 4 princesses to call our own, to say we have a healthy amount of toys is an understatement, at best. It was out of control before we had even begun. Princess #1 was the first grandchild on BOTH sides, and you know what that means. The gravy train really didn't come to an end until we rolled out princess #3, and added one cousin to our extended family over time. Add in the recession and the toy indulgence has slowly come grinding to a halt. Somewhat.

We still have an obscene number of toys. Particularly in the 0-12m range. We have rattles, blocks, balls, random things that blink lights and play tinny music coming out of our ears. In fact, we probably have 2 large rubbermaid containers out in the garage full of such things. And we are not lacking anything inside our home as well.

So why is it, with an abundance of lovely attention getters at my princess #4's disposal, that she seems intent on occupying her time with decidedly NON-baby toys? Or NON-toys in general? Shoes. Those are a favorite. Or random scraps of paper she finds on the ground. She's also quite fond of anything that happens to be plugged into a wall. She used to prefer to play on top of the brick hearth (only an inch off the ground, no worries!), until we covered it with old throw pillows to discourage her. In lieu of playing with soft, appropriate baby things, she'd rather climb all over the dog, or better yet, help herself to his leftover food. Blech.

With Christmas around the corner, I'm beginning to think I shouldn't even bother buying anything for her. Not only do I have my own garage to go shopping in, but I could probably just wrap up a shoe or throw a plastic spoon in her stocking and call it a day. And she'd probably be perfectly fine with just that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A New Life and Old Hurts

My dear friends welcomed their very first baby into the world yesterday morning, their own little bundle of pink. I couldn't wait to get to the hospital to see her. R (the new mama) and I planned and planned during her pregnancy. I haven't talked about it much here, but childbirth education is my passion. I lucked into a wonderful doctor when I was pregnant with Princess #1 and his love of childbirth and the natural process guided my experience and changed my view of the whole thing. I went on to have 3 unmedicated births those experiences inspired me to someday become certified as a childbirth educator and share my love with others.

Anyway, due to my experience, R and I spent alot of time talking and planning. She was curious about going unmedicated and I was thrilled to share my stories and knowledge. Over time, she and her husband decided that they too wanted to attempt an unmedicated birth and began to prepare for it. They hired a doula and invited me to shadow her and be an additional support for R during her labor. I was beyond thrilled. First, what an honor. Second, I've never been on THAT side of the delivery, and was excited to see it from a different angle.

So of course, as luck would have it, R's water broke at home 4 weeks early. And of course, my phone was no where near me when they called to tell me they were on their way to the hospital. And of course, by the time I got the message, sweet baby E was here. She decided in addition to coming 4 weeks early, she also wanted to come butt first. So R didn't even have a chance. As soon as they discovered the breech presentation, all hopes for an unmedicated birth went out the window and the OR was prepped for a section.

Baby E is beautiful, and healthy. 7 pounds, no sign of being early at all. R is recovering well. I haven't had a chance to really talk with her yet, so I don't know where her mind is in regards to the birth. But their experience has brought to the front of my mind my OWN experience with unexpected circumstances during birth, and it's brought back with it my own regret, pain and sadness.

With my first 3 births, I wrote extensive birth stories following the event. I wanted to remember every detail, every moment. I was so proud of myself, for accomplishing such a great feat - sustaining a child within me for 9 months and bringing her into the world by my own efforts. There is nothing like the high following childbirth and I dare say the high I experienced following my natural births was astronomical. I felt like I could take on the world in that moment. So of course, when I discovered I was pregnant with Princess #4, I planned again for another empowering experience.

But this birth was not like my other 3. I have never written about it because I'm not sure I can put into words exactly my thoughts. Some days I'm not even sure what my thoughts are. Princess #4 did not tolerate labor. The cord was wrapped around her head. She would not descend into the birth canal. Her heartrate kept dropping with contractions and not rebounding. I pushed for 45 minutes. I knew in my heart, though my mind was fuzzy with the pain of labor, that something was wrong. I began begging my doctor to just take her. It happened so fast then. One minute I was pushing in vain, the next I was being wheeled through the hallway on the verge of near hysteria and into the bright white of the OR. I remember very little after that. I remember not feeling anything. I remember being very scared. I remember being alone. I remember after she was born hearing someone in the room say "oh boy!" and I about had a heart attack right there - until someone finally confirmed that she was in fact, a girl. I remember asking how big she was and someone telling me that they'd get around to that, but that there were other things to worry about right now. I remember that's when I realized she hadn't cried yet.

6 minutes is what they tell me. 6 minutes from decision to baby. 6 minutes that changed me. I never, ever dreamed that after 3 uneventful, unmedicated births that left me feeling like Superwoman that I would experience a C-section. I rarely ever talk about it, rarely mention it to anyone other than my husband. Because I know the thoughts people must have: but you have a perfectly healthy baby! She's safe, that's all that matters. It doesn't matter how she gets here. And that's all true. But I believe that at the same time, it DOES matter. To me. Everytime I allow myself to think about it, I wonder what I did wrong. What could I have done to change things. Even now, after re-reading my rundown here of the events leading to her birth - it's clear in my head that the outcome would not have been good if we had tried to continue. My head knows it. But my heart still hurts. Is it normal to know and believe that the C-section saved your baby's life, and yet still wonder if there was something else you could have done?

I'm hoping time will heal. It's been 9 months, and my heart could not be more full when I look at my sweet Princess #4. She's discovering her world, exploring and learning. Her precious smile melts my heart. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was all worth it and I'd do it again exactly the same over and over again if I had to. Hopefully someday I'll no longer have that nagging little catch at the back of my head that says "what if..." And even if it never completely goes away, hopefully I'll be able to use my experiences to better educate and prepare women who are on their own unique journeys into childbirth.

R, your new baby is beautiful. What a precious gift from God! I know that He will bless you and S as you begin your new life. Never doubt yourself, when you run into inevitable bumps in the road. You are not on this journey alone. Memorize each moment in these early days, for they are gone too quickly. Relish in the changing of control in your home - it's not about you anymore! And that's wonderful, and exhilarating and right. I'm so happy for you both and look forward to watching little Miss E. grow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Letter

Dear Princess #4,

I know that cutting 4 teeth by the time you were 4 months old was a bit unusual. And I understand that having a mouthful of 8 teeth by 8 months old is even moreso. I imagine it must feel very strange to you, to have these rock hard objects in your mouth at such a young age. I even refer to you sometimes as my little Renesmee.

Unlike your literary counterpart, however, your mama does not have marble hard skin, nor the pain tolerance to endure your experimentation with your razor-sharp teeth. So, although it may be a sign of endearment from your perspective, I have to kindly request that you

PLEASE STOP BITING ME!

With all my love,
Your mama

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Queen Up

I loathe Play-doh. Really. It's the creative bane of my existence. It's the constant reminder that I am not nearly as creative, nor as fun a mommy as I should be. When the princesses drag it out, my first thought isn't "oh goody! We get to have a fun and entertaining afternoon using our imaginations to create interesting pieces of art from this pliable dough!". Oh no. It's "oh dear lord, here we go again. How long is it going to take me to dig the dry play-doh out of the blasted ice cream maker thingy this time?" Yes, it's true. I'm somewhat embarrassed by this revelation.

Today, Princess #3 got into the Play-doh before I could stop her. And yes, I would have tried to re-direct her had she asked. I'm mean like that. But anyway, she managed to get the bag of Play-doh tools, the ice cream maker thingy and 4 tubs of Play-doh out and on the kitchen table before I saw her. I was stuck. She played happily by herself for about, oh 30 seconds, before she started calling me to help her. Resigned, I headed into the kitchen and prepared myself for my sentence of snake-rolling, shape cutting and dry Play-doh digging.

We played together for about 30 minutes before she was done and ready to move on to something else. Since cleaning up the Play-doh is another reason I hate the stuff, I suggested that she help me put everything away before finding something else to do. And this is the moment when enduring the whole thing became worth it: She looked at me, obviously considering my suggestion carefully. And then with big wide eyes and that impish grin that makes the one dimple on her right cheek appear, she asked if we could sing a song. It caught me a little off-guard, seeming to come out of nowhere. So when I repeated her request back to her, it totally melted this mama heart when she replied, "sing the queen up song?". Ah, thank you Sunday School.

And sing the Clean Up Song we did. Over and over and over (there are only, like, 2 phrases in the whole song) while we cheerfully rolled the Play-doh into mounds to stuff back into their tubs, dug the stray Play-doh out of the ice cream maker thingy before it could dry into a rock, and swept the floor to keep us from stepping on it later. With that sweet little 2 year old voice singing "queen up, queen up" ringing in my ears, it was the best part of my morning. I have a new found love for Play-doh. It's almost enough to make me drag all the Play-doh out again myself someday soon.


Monday, October 26, 2009

'Tis the Season

Candy corn should come with a warning label:

"Caution.  The candy you are about to consume is ridiculously sweet and loaded with unknown highly addictive substances that will render you completely incapable of stopping your consumption of them once you begin.  Proceed with caution."

You have been warned.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baby Crack

I ran across an interesting bit of news today that I thought was worth sharing because, well, I think it's hilarious. Apparently, Disney is offering refunds to parents who are dissatisfied and thus willing to return their purchased Baby Einstein videos. Dissatisfied how, you ask? Shockingly, Disney has admitted that having your baby watch these videos will not make them smarter. You can read information about it here and here.

Or you can just stay here and read my take.

OK, seriously? Allow me to let you in on a little secret: putting your baby in front of a TV will NEVER make them smart! It's comical to me to think that there are parents out there who not only purchased these DVD's under the impression that they were raising little Einsteins themselves, but also ones who are irritated enough because little Tommy can't spell his name by 9 months or isn't recognizing Van Gogh or Beethoven by a year old that they are actually willing to return the DVD's. It's a tragic, misguided error!

Parents of babies and young ones: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT return these movies! These movies ARE magic. But not in the sense that Disney intended. I like to refer to them as "Baby Crack". It may just be a screen shot of a black sheet with a plastic toy sitting on it, or some cheap little hand puppet, but as God is my witness - these movies are the only reason I've been able to get a shower in the last 7 years. I don't know what it is about these things, but I can plant a baby in a bouncy seat in front of a TV with Baby Einstein playing and I know I've got a golden 15-20 minutes to shower before boredom sets in. Is it the mesmerizing music? The contrasting colors? Shoot, for all I know they've got some hypnosis voodoo going on. Whatever it is, I don't really care.

I know, I know, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO screen time for children under the age of two. So tell me, is the AAP going to come sit at my house everyday so I can shower? I think not. There will always be some parent that proudly claims their child has never watched TV or they've never used a video to get something done around the house. And I'll say now - they are LYING. Let's just cut through that crap right now. We mommy's are hard enough on ourselves as it is without the added pressure of feeling like we're some sort of failure because we need a cheap video to occupy our kids so we don't stink.

So, maybe Baby Einstein isn't going to make your kid an Einstein. That's OK. Get over it. You shouldn't be relying on TV to make your kid smart anyway. BUT, do think twice before sending your DVD's back to Disney in a huff. You may need to get your shower in tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preschool Pick-up

Preschool pick up is the bane of my existence. Not only do most parents not understand how to drive through the pick up line properly, it is also at the worst possible time and inevitably I have to wake Princess #4 up from her morning nap. Does not make me a happy mama.

Today I stood at Princess #4's crib, watching her sleep, silently cursing preschool pickup a little too long I guess. I arrived at the school to see NO cars in the pick up line. I checked the clock, 11:30 on the dot. Panic starts to sear through my stomach, I am a "worst-case scenario" person afterall. I park the car and unload Princess #3 and #4, and haul them into the building with me. I burst into the office, to find Princess #2 sitting quietly against the wall, waiting for me along with 3 other preschoolers who apparently were waiting on their delinquent mothers. The clock in the office read 11:35. So, my clock was a few minutes off and miraculously, all parents driving through the car pick up line managed to do it right today and all kids were picked up in record time. Except mine, that is. Of course.

Oh and today WOULD be the day that I didn't get to shower, nor change out of my pj's before preschool pick up. I'm sure the office ladies were totally jealous of my hoodie, pj's pants and Ugg ensemble. I rock it.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Mom

I've been sitting on this blog entry for awhile. Sometimes I have so much circling inside my head that I can't seem to get it out coherently. I start so many entries that never see the light of day. This one I've been mulling over and over for several days now. I'm still not certain that it will make sense or resonate with anyone but myself, but that's ok.

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't The Mom. Don't get me wrong, I love being A Mom. I adore my princesses. There is a unique joy and peace that comes in watching your own children, created in love, grow and learn and experience life. Being A Mom is fulfilling. Being A Mom is rewarding. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about being The Mom. The One that has to make the hard decisions. The One that has to teach the hard lessons. The One that carries the burden, The One that worries endlessly, The One that is never really sure that what she is doing is enough.

When I spoke of this burden to a group of mothers, one of my dear friends, J, put it so eloquently. I couldn't say it better, so I'll quote her here:

And still I wonder and worry. It's so hard to make these decisions with no ability to see the future. And it seems to get harder and harder the bigger *their* world gets outside of me. I used to be able to control so many factors and I feel like I've got more of them and their worlds are getting bigger...and sometimes I feel like all these issues are slipping right through my fingers. Sometimes I just want to be the nanny. And leave the tough stuff to someone else.

This is exactly where I am right now. The burden at times almost seems unbearable. I have a fabulous, supportive husband. He loves his princesses more than life it's self. When it comes to major decisions concerning any of our children, we are a team, we make a joint decision. And yet, it's me as The Mom, that comes to the table with all the research, all the knowledge, all the possible scenarios that could play out as a result of our decision. I obsess over it. When a big decision is looming it's all I can think about. And God forbid that something bad should happen as a result of my actions as The Mom. I know that has to be every mother's worst fear. It can be immobilizing.

And yet, we can't stay immobilized, can we? Choices have to be made. At some point you have to go with your gut, if you have nothing else to stand on. I sometimes look at motherhood and find it to be the most exasperating job on the planet. Here we are, given the responsibility of care and upbringing of our most precious people. There is no rule book, no magic formula for making all the right decisions, often nothing but the seat of our pants as we grab on and hold on tight for the ride. And essentially, our job as The Mom, is to teach our children to fly. As my friend J put it, their world eventually grows bigger and bigger and our control over it grows smaller and smaller. Isn't that when we try to hold on tighter?

I have to believe that at some point, it all will make sense. That I'll see it come full circle, as my princesses grow. My prayer is that I'll be able to slowly let go of the very things that cause me to cling to the control. Although the burden is great, I know that within me God has instilled the instinct and the knowledge to make the right decisions for my princesses and also the courage to know when it's time to let go. I have no doubt that my days of wishing I could just be the nanny and leave the hard stuff to someone else are far but over. But I also know that with the hard stuff comes the greater reward. Right now, in the face of a big decision, I wish I wasn't The Mom. But I am so, so very grateful that I am A Mom.

18 again

Today I was in the grocery store, buying baby food for Princess #4.  While I was filling up my cart, an employee walked by and started chatting with me about baby food, etc.  At one point, she commented that I surely didn't have a baby at home for all that food.  To which I replied that I actually had FOUR!  Her jaw dropped and disbelievingly asked how old I was.  When I told her 32 (ack), she shook her head and said that she thought I was only 18, at the most.

Awesome.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Unfun

So, I am apparently the most "unfun" mommy in the whole wide world. I'm so unfun because I don't let the princesses eat fast food for every meal. I'm so unfun because I won't drop everything and take the princesses to the "Bouncy Barn" every time we drive by it (which is several times a day). I'm so unfun because I don't have an endless supply of "special" things planned each day (whatever this elusive "special" thing is, I have no clue). I'm so unfun because I won't let the princesses watch TV every waking minute.

This unfun mommy is ok with that. I remember as a child hearing my mother say to me: "you think you have it so bad? You have no idea!" Of course, as a child, the worst thing in the world was not being allowed to go rollerskating when I had homework to do, or having to actually make my bed every morning (gasp!). Now as an adult I've seen way too many news reports and heard way too many stories I wish I could erase from my mind. I know I had it good. And I know my princesses have it good as well. So I guess I'll just have to put up with being the "unfun" mommy. Someday they'll know how good they have it. Just wish I had thought to record my mom's declarations to me. Would've saved my voice a bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's a Sonic for dinner day

It's been a day from you-know-where. You ever have those? I am at my end, quite literally. I can only wear so many hats, I can only be in so many places at once, I can only be so much to so many people. I really need a multiplier. Something to create about 3-4 of me. Then I'd be golden.

Today's frustration centers around that I have to work outside my home. The number of mouths we have to feed on a daily basis demands it. It's just our lot in life, it's where we're at right now. And I have a great part-time job. I have the most patient, understanding boss who puts up with sharing me more often than he should probably have to. I work with great ladies who make me smile and are uplifting. It's NICE to get away from home and my daily chaos from time to time and just do mindless shuffling of papers. And yet it's such a burden too.

Hubby and I swap childcare. So when he works I watch the kids and when I work he watches the kids. Since his job is more demanding and mine is more flexible, I basically work around his schedule. That's a blessing and at the same time a curse. I'm tired of trying to squeeze my hours in, tired of trying to be a good employee who's worth her paycheck while still juggling and balancing my responsibilities at home. I'm tired of passing hubby in the night. I really feel like I'm stretched to my capacity, and I'm not doing anything well. That's the worst part. I just don't compartmentalize well. When I'm at work I'm thinking about how I'm missing out on time with the princesses and hubby, I'm thinking about the laundry that needs to be done or what we're having for dinner. When I'm at home I'm thinking about how I'm going to get my work hours in or how I'm going to have enough time to finish what I need to. So neither place gets my full attention and being the perfectionist that I am, that sucks.

So now I find myself approaching the end of a miserable day where I feel like I've given half of myself to work and half of myself to home and neither place has gotten 100%. It's the sort of day where I'll just eek through doing only what's required of me and hope I don't screw things up. These sorts of days inevitably end with dinner out. It's like my one bright spot. I can feed my family without making a mess in the kitchen. A mess that I have to clean up. The princesses are happy because they get a toy with their meal, I'm happy because I don't have to deal with it, I can just eat. Happiness found in a Wacky Pack. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe it will come with a toy in the bag.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

Today, while strolling through Target (well, I use that word loosely as I was accompanied by Princesses #2, #3 and #4 and honestly, not much "strolling" goes on when I have those 3 to deal with - but anyway, I digress.), Princess #2 leans back in the cart and takes in a deep breath of air and says with a sigh: "ah, it's so good to be let out of the castle walls." After I recovered from busting a gut laughing, I amused myself with various day dreams - oh to have castle walls to be let out of in the first place!

And I wonder if that's what it feels like to a little kid. Here are my 4 princesses, held captive in our "castle" (ha!), only let out when Your Majesty feels so inclined. And lately, it takes alot for Your Majesty to feel inclined. I mean, who can blame me really, right? I wish I was a more "fun" mom, one that had more organization, more energy, more creative-ness, and more time (ah, the holy grail!). So many times the princesses come home from school and our activities include a little reading, a little coloring, a little TV (gasp! yes, it's true!). Nothing very inspiring or exciting. No wonder Princess #2 was thrilled at the thought of going to Target.

I think I've got to let go of the idea that I can be some sort of super mom with really cool snacks and crafts and other entertaining things that don't include the TV or going to the store. Let's face it, right now I'm doing good just to have food in the fridge. And if an outing to Target inspires declarations of satisfaction from my princesses, then so be it. There are worse things, I suppose.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Man Up

We had a momentous weekend this week. Hubby had a procedure done to ensure that our last princess remains our last princess. That's right folks, the old "snip snip". I should probably be ashamed to admit that I'm so very happy that he finally got it done. If you know me or have followed my blog you know that Princess #4 was quite an unplanned surprise. I think at the time hubby and I talked a really big talk about being done, D.O.N.E. After Princess #3 was born, anytime anyone asked us if we were going to "try for that boy" (nudge nudge wink wink), we'd always laugh and say over and over, no way, we are finished!

Quite obviously, we were NOT finished. And I think if I were to over analyze it (which I wouldn't EVER be prone to do - haha!), that's probably why we never did anything permanent to make sure that we were finished. I mean, it's sort of a big deal, to put to an end your childbearing years. How does one ever decide when their family is complete? Not that I'd ever want to compete with the Duggars, but I can sorta understand how it would be difficult to decide to not have any more children, when that's all you've done for half your life.

But after #4.... oh well that is QUITE a different story. While I might have had unexplored corners of my heart and mind that subconsciously led us to have a 4th princess, I can guarantee you that there is no concern for that now. I was literally counting down the days to hubby's appointment. And you'll be glad to know he sailed through with no problem. All I have to say is after carrying 4 princesses for 9 months, and laboring and delivering each of them, well - it's the least he can do. And he'd be the first to agree. (side note, if you're a guy and you're faced with this decision - man up. That is all.)

It's hard to believe, but hubby and I have been married for nearly 10 years. And we've spent those 10 years having babies. It was a wonderful decade of new love and the creation of a family. And now I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. 10 years of raising those babies into beautiful young princesses. I'm ready to focus on that next phase. So while in some (very small) ways it's a bit bittersweet to know that we will have no more children, that thought is definitely overruled by the knowledge that now we will have the opportunity to grow up our family and concentrate on living, loving and enjoying life together.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Someday

Someday, when my princesses can spread the toothpaste without making a mess, will I miss them needing me to brush their teeth every night?

Someday, when my princesses can dress themselves, will I miss them needing me to lay out their clothes everyday?

Someday, when my princesses can open the refrigerator by themselves, will I miss them expecting me to drop everything to get them a drink of milk?

Someday, when my princesses can entertain themselves, will I miss dressing Barbies and putting together puzzles?

Someday, when my princesses can make their own food, will I miss nuking chicken nuggets and washing tons of grapes?

Someday, when my princesses can read chapter books on their own, will I miss spending the evenings laboring over 'Hop On Pop'?

Someday, when my princesses can bathe themselves, will I miss painstakingly washing their hair while not a drop of water gets in their eyes?

Someday, when my princesses can drive, will I miss them needing me to cart them all over town?

Someday, when my princesses can talk on the phone, will I miss them wanting to tell me every small detail of their day?

Someday, when my princesses decide that sleep is a GOOD thing, will I miss singing them to sleep?

Someday, when my princesses like boys, will I miss hearing their declarations that boys are "icky"?

Someday, when my princesses fall in love, will I miss being #1 in their life?

Someday, when my princesses are all grown up, will I be ready?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep the candle burnin'

I'm burning a candle tonight. It's sitting on my end table right next to the couch. This may seem inconsequential, but this is HUGE. Before children (shall we call this time BC?) I had candles all over the place. I'm a huge fan of fall scented candles - pumpkin spice, harvest, cinnamon rolls, autumn leaves, etc. I used to have them everywhere. The fireplace mantle, the kitchen counter, the bathroom - everywhere. There's just something homey and welcoming about candles burning.

Well, quite obviously, kids and candles don't mix. I was stubborn for awhile, after princess #1 was born. I kept them out of her way but of course at first it wasn't a huge issue since she didn't start crawling until she was 8 months old. Once that age hit though, my candle burning era started coming to a close. I resisted as long as possible, but slowly over time the candles started disappearing. It just wasn't worth it. It's amazing how having kids infiltrates every corner of your being and consumes even the smallest detail. I'm not sure that getting rid of candles was even a conscious decision. It just happened. It made sense that in a home with 4 little ones running around, candles weren't a good decorating accent.

All that to say, I received some wonderful fall scented candles for my birthday (which was yesterday, by the way) from my work. I debated setting them out on my desk and lighting them for the few brief hours I was there, but decided instead to take them home. Of course I walked in the door and immediately fell into "mommy mode" and the candles sat in their gift bag unopened on my bed all afternoon and evening. But tonight, once the 4 littles were all tucked away and sleeping soundly, I carefully unwrapped each one and decided to light the pumpkin spice candle first. And so it sits, proudly on my little end table next to my couch, well within reach of little fingers (that are fast asleep in their beds), and my house smells like pumpkin pie... at least for a little while.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't know how you do it!

There is this sweet lady we run into regularly, and it never fails that when we engage her in conversation she inevitably will make the statement: "I don't know how you do it!". I "think" she means it as a compliment, like I'm accomplishing something spectacular... I'm never really sure how to answer her so I usually laugh it off with a "I don't know either!". I laugh it off, but inside I'm frantically taking stock: Is my shirt on inside out? Did I remember to brush my teeth? Did I forget to put eyeliner on BOTH eyes? Can she see I'm actually just barely holding on by my fingertips? I mean, I get it. One look at me and my 4 princesses out and about and I'd probably have the same thoughts about me!

But the truth is, I think I DO know how I do it. I mean, not specifically, but overall - yeah. I know how. I do it because it's LIFE. It's my life. It's not like I can wake up in the morning and tell princess #2 who is climbing in my side of the bed at 6 am begging for breakfast that I'm sorry, I'm not doing it today. She'll have to ask someone else (and oh how at times I've dreamt that I could!). I don't know anything different. Most days, being mommy to 4 princesses isn't overwhelming to me because it's what I DO, every.single.day. And I really don't feel like I'm doing anything spectacular as I nuke 15 chicken nuggets for dinner or change a dozen diapers in a day. The fact that we run from one activity to the next on a daily basis is tiring, yes, but still... normal somehow. It almost makes me feel uncomfortable to be regarded as doing something remarkable. I mean really, how remarkable can cleaning dried boogers off a dirty face be?

So then I have to stop and force myself to really take a look at what's going on in our home. Past the chicken nuggets, diapers and boogers. Past what I see day in and day out, and to what people from the outside looking in see. I think it's so easy for me to get caught up in the small, mundane details that make up my life, that I often fail to see the big picture. And I end up selling myself short. Because where I see normalcy, others see extraordinary. Not everyone gets the privilege of raising 4 princesses. Sometimes I need to take a step back and recognize the incredible gift we've been given, and see how truly remarkable that is.

PS - if you do happen to notice me wearing my shirt inside out, please let me know. I may be doing something extraordinary, but I AM still the mommy to 4 princesses. Alot can happen to my brain cells between getting out of bed and getting dressed!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Random

I wish I had more to blog about these days. My life just seems so repetitious that I'm not finding much exciting I guess. Just the same routine, over and over. The expanse of summer stretching out in front of us. I'm tired... and HOT. Dang is it hot here! It's been officially summer all of 2 days and it's already over 100. Ugh.

Let's see, surely there's some news...

Oh, Princess #4, at the ripe old age of 4 months, sprouted TWO TEETH. Seriously? It's sort of ridiculous. If you're not familiar with babies' teething patterns, most usually START teething around 4 months but rarely will you see a pearly white before 8 months old. At least with my princesses. But no, Princess #4 thought she'd change it up. Makes nursing fun. Oh yeah.

She's rolling too. Front to back and back to front. It's funny, I remember how insanely excited I was when Princess #1 learned this new trick. Now, not so much. Princess #4 does not enjoy being on her belly. And yet she continues to roll. Protesting all the time. She doesn't seem to understand that SHE is the one in charge of her rolling. No one is doing it for her. I think she'll get it soon.

She has figured out how to bat at the little toys hanging from her Dream Meadow (side note - this is the coolest thing ever. Babies don't need battery operated/light flashing/noise making toys. Simplify.). She grabs at the little wooden rattles and hold on for dear life. It's quite funny actually. She's got good aim.

We still have made absolutely no progress on her taking a pacifier and I've pretty much given up. I was so smug when I only had one Princess. We waited until the book-dictated age of 4 weeks to give her the paci, thinking it would cause her to be less addicted and of course not cause nipple confusion. It worked I guess. She used it casually on and off until she was 8 months old when we successfully weaned her off of it. Oh yeah, we were awesome parents. No 2 year old in our house walking around talking behind a paci! Then came Princess #2. Colicky, spitty, fussy, the works. I learned what a glorious wonder a paci could be and sang it's praises. She only used it to sleep, but that was enough. By the time Princess #3 came along I was all about The Paci. I shoved that sucker in her mouth every chance I could. And yes, she is now 2 and still sleeps with it. And I don't care. So here I am with Princess #4 and I only WISH I could get her to take it. Let's face it. I can only be in one place at a time. I think her life (and mine) would be much happier if she'd allow herself to be soothed by something other than me. It's ok, because she's my baby and I'll gladly be her personal paci, but you know... sometimes...

Ok, this was all so random. My mind is everywhere tonight. But there ya go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2000 What?

Princess #1: "Mommy, when were you born?"

Me: "September"

Princess #1: "No, I mean WHEN. Like... 2000 what?"

Me: "uh..."

And for the first time I REALLY felt old. And speaking of old (haha!), today is hubby's birthday. You know when you end up with 4 little kids, birthdays just aren't about you anymore. Not even your own, not really.

At the princesses' request, we woke Daddy with breakfast in bed (of course, Your Majesty was sure to "pre-wake" Daddy, so he wouldn't growl or be cranky when the princesses climbed up on top of him). Following french toast we showered daddy with his presents. He is now the proud owner of a new box of crayons and a giant Star Wars coloring book, LOL. The princesses were so proud. Then we headed out to see "Up" in the theater. Cute movie, um, a little deep for the princesses (and scary according to princess #2). And then it was on to dinner (pizza of course - the only meal all the princesses eat well) and then cake at home complete with Star Wars plates, napkins and cups. I have to admit it was a little fun shopping on the boy's side of the party aisle for once!

And now I'm watching hubby play Uno with princess #1 and #2. He's such a good daddy. It's not always easy to accept that birthdays just aren't as big a deal as they used to be. Even harder when you realize it's because you're getting OLDER. So it's special having princesses in your life to share birthdays with - they make it a BIG DEAL. Even if all you get is a box of crayons and a kid's movie.

(For the record, Your Majesty did get hubby some new cologne and tickets to see 'Wicked' next month. So, not JUST crayons...)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hi!

I haven't fallen off the face of the Planet, I promise. Life is crazy hectic. Summer is upon us. I'll be back. Soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Lesson Learned

Would you let your child walk out of the house and go to school wearing decidedly NON-matching items? Would you try to spare them the inevitable snickering from peers?

Today Princess #1 and I had this argument regarding a rather garish pair of red socks adorned with pink and purple hearts. Normally wearing them wouldn't be an issue, if they were going to be hidden behind jeans and bulky tennis shoes. But Princess #1 was wanting to wear them with pink capri pants and an aqua shirt decorated with pastel butterflies. I pulled out a pair of plain white socks for her to wear instead (never mind the fact that it killed me that she wanted to wear socks with her capri pants at all - her shoes hurt her feet, so I was begrudgingly agreeing to the socks in the first place). But I just couldn't let her go out in those blasted red socks. Two sizes too big so the purple heels were actually up on her ankles, tops folded down like a bad 80's trend.

I expressed my displeasure for those dumb red socks and produced the white socks. Princess #1 immediately began tearing up and complaining that she wanted to wear the RED socks, not WHITE - the white ones didn't match (no, the irony was not lost on me). I told her again to take off the red socks and put on the white ones and through her tears she wailed "why?". And before I could catch myself I frustratingly replied "because I don't want the kids at school to make fun of you!". I immediately regretted my response. Do I really want to teach my child that it's important to worry about what other people think? That we should decide what to wear based on others reactions? I needn't have worried though, because immediately Princess #1 stopped crying and looked up at me with wide eyes. "But I don't care" was all she said. And in that moment I decided that I was the one that needed to learn the lesson this morning. I hugged her and sent her off to school - non matching red socks and all.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My gift

This mother's day has reminded me why I do what I do. Why I labored for hours on end to deliver 4 beautiful babies into the world. Why I kiss invisible booboos and bandage the ones I can see. Why I wake up when I hear a coughing fit coming from across the house. Why I put up with the whining, the temper tantrums, the attitude.

Tonight I tucked Princess #2 back into bed after waking her at 9pm to take a dose of ibuprofen. She had been battling a fever all day and it had spiked during her earlier sleep. After rubbing her back and cooling her forehead with a damp washcloth, she asked me in her sweet voice if I would lay in bed with her for a little bit. Promising to do so, I tucked her in and laid my head down on her pillow. In a reprimanding voice she instructed me to lay my whole body in her bed. So I climbed in next to her tiny frame. I brushed her messy hair out of her face and voiced "precious princess" under my breath. And that's when her small arms wrapped around my waist and she whispered back "precious mommy".

It doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Super Powers

I made a startling revelation today. Once Princess #4 is 6 months old and eating some solid food, I will have personally sustained human life for exactly 5 years total all by myself. FIVE YEARS. 9 months for each of the Princesses' pregnancies (9 x 4 = 36 months) and the first 6 months of life for each of the Princesses while they eat only breastmilk (6 x 4 = 24 months). FIVE YEARS. I still can't get over it. Equally startling is the fact that if you stack all 4 of my pregnancies back to back, I have been pregnant for 3 years total. Wow. I am superwoman.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Today's Agenda

1. Fold Laundry
2. Do Dishes
3. Vacuum
4. Buy Groceries
5. Dig gum out of Princess #2's hair.

Ah yes, all in a day's work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Night Owl

The other day I was discussing how to tell time with Princess #1. We got on the subject of bedtimes and she started educating me on when everyone in the house went to bed. 6:30 is when Princess #3 goes to bed, 7:30 is when Princess #1 and #2 go to bed, etc. Then she asked if I went to bed at 8:30, I told her no, I go to bed a little bit later. 9:30?, she guessed. Nope, even later than that. 10:30? Yes, or sometimes even later. To which she responded, "so THAT'S why you're so cranky in the morning!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

She's got my number

Princess #3 has recently decided that SCREAMING is a good and valid form of communication. Since she used to calmly speak in complete sentences, I'm obviously not a fan of her newfound avenue of expression. To discourage her from allowing high-pitched shrieks to permanently replace words, we've started putting her in time out each time she screams inappropriately. At this point, time out occurs in a little pink plastic chair adorned with black marker (don't ask) that faces a blank corner in Princess #3's room.

Yesterday, Princess #3 had already been to her pink plastic purgatory 2 or 3 times when I caught her once again screaming - this time at Princess #2 who apparently made the unfortunate mistake of crossing her. I immediately reprimanded Princess #3 and told her she needed to go calm down in time out.

Expecting more screams and additional drama, I was taken aback when Princess #3 immediately stopped screaming. She cheerfully sang "OK!" and skipped off to her bedroom, arranged her tiny self on the little pink chair and stared dutifully at the corner. Now what am I supposed to do with this girl!? I *thought* time outs were supposed to be miserable and not fun. It's kinda hard to punish a kid when they actually *like* the punishment. I'm pretty much in for it, aren't I?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I have guilt

I inadvertently stole something today. I've never stolen anything in my life. Well, except for the time when I was about 7. I walked out of a store with a candy bar after my mom had told me that I couldn't have it. I thought I'd just take it myself. Having to return the pilfered candy bar to the store owner after my mom discovered it was all the mortification I needed to ensure I never tried that again.

Today, after doing the school drop-off, I drug Princess #4 (sleeping in her carseat) and Princess #3 (feverish and slightly pukey - yes, I'm a bad mom) to the store to pick up items for their Easter baskets. It was going to be my only opportunity to get out before Easter, so it had to be done, slightly pukey child or not. In my defense, there had been no puke for 15 hours, so she was really only a wee bit green.

ANYWAY, between Princess #4 in her carrier and Princess #3 who needed to ride, there wasn't much room for anything else in the cart. I was stuffing candy bags along side Princess #4 and having Princess #3 hold the shoe boxes containing Easter sandals. In my haste to get in and get out, I threw 3 chocolate bunnies underneath the cart. When we were finally done collecting items we headed to the checkout and I began to unearth the items from various nooks and crannies of the cart. And of course, since I have been suffering from pregnancy and newborn induced brain cell loss since, oh, 2001, the fact that I had 3 chocolate bunnies underneath my cart completely escaped my memory.

It wasn't until we exited the store (I guess chocolate bunnies don't have alarms LOL), crossed the entire parking lot, unloaded the bags and completely buckled both Princess #3 and #4 into their carseats, that I discovered my little chocolate stowaways. Now, what's a frazzled mom to do? Did I REALLY have to unbuckle everyone, risk puke in public (as Princess #3 was going downhill fast) and haul everyone back into the store? I should have, yes. But did I? No. It's impossible to explain what an ordeal it is to get multiple kids in and out of carseats, across a parking lot, and ask them to wait for an inexplicable amount of time unless you've been there. Add a sick toddler to the equation and you're just asking for trouble. I decided to risk judgement and go home instead. Next time I'm there I'll have the clerk scan 3 chocolate bunnies but then tell them to put the bunnies back on the shelf. That'll make up for it, right?

ETA: OK, I took the bunnies back today and paid for them at customer service. I couldn't deal with the thought of giving my princess' stolen candy on Easter. At least my conscious can rest in peace now! LOL

Monday, April 6, 2009

PSA:

I HATE WHINING!!!!!!!


that is all.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Boss

I don't really like the mom I became today. I think I've fallen into the trap of micro-management. I used to work for this boss who was a HUGE micro-manager. She would freak out over the tiniest things and would shoot emails at us all day reminding us to not do this or that. It was like the more out of control she felt, the more she tried to manage her employees. And of course, the more we felt managed, the more we tried not to be. Well, this was my house today.

I think bringing Princess #4 home has certainly pushed me in the direction of micro-management somewhat. I mean, when it's 4 on 1, and 1 is the one that's supposed to be in control, there's bound to be a little bit of obsessive controlling. I think (hope?) that's completely normal. I also believe I'm pre-wired to be this way. I have the lovely affliction of "mom's foresight", which allows me to imagine every possible thing that might happen to one of my offspring as a result of something they are doing at any given moment. And because I really don't want to have to clean up a huge mess, or bandage skinned knees or numerous other things I'd prefer to avoid, I tend to find myself spending a good chunk of the day saying things like "don't run in circles, sit still, watch where you're going, stop bugging your sister, listen to me, be quiet, slow down, etc. etc. etc. Funny thing is, it seems the more I say those things and the louder I get, the less the Princesses seem to take notice. Much like myself when I used to delete my boss' micro-management emails without even reading them.

So, I'm struggling to walk the fine line between maintaining order in my home and keeping my Princesses safe, and yet not micro-manage them to the point where it's no fun being a kid at our house because you can't ever run, get dirty or make a mess. My challenge to myself in the next few days is to lighten up a bit, to remember what it felt like to be micro-managed, and to let my kids just be kids. I can always clean up the messes later.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Dr. Is In

So, Princess #3 is obsessed with having booboo's kissed these days. It's totally not a problem, except that most of her owies tend to be of the invisible sort, and tend to appear numerous times a day. It's not uncommon at all for me to spend 5 minutes or so trying to locate said booboo and kiss it in just the right spot. So it can be a time consuming endeavor. Funny how they keep moving around too. I wonder is she's just using me for kisses... LOL

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kindergarten 101

Princess #1 brought this hand written note home from school yesterday. It was given to her by her friend M. Bonus points if you can decipher what it says:

"My Fres haos tmrow. You are in vibin to My parbe. Love, M."

It only took me about 10 minutes to figure it out. Haha.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 down

It's Spring Break this week and I have to admit I was totally terrified of it. I've definitely gotten used to Princess #1 being in school all day and with Princesses #2 and #3 in preschool 3 days a week, the transition to 4 princesses in general hasn't been too bad. But faced with Spring Break, 5 whole days of no school and just me and my lonesome to entertain, well let's just say I was shaking in fear!

So, enter Grammie and Grampie to the rescue! At about 2 hours away, they are just the right distance for a little getaway for Princess #1 and #2. We met them halfway today and the princesses are now enjoying pampering and spoiling that only grandparents can get away with. And while I'm relieved that I have two days with only two princesses to keep track of, I feel weird too. The house is so...CALM. I hardly know what to do.

Our house is so crazy 95% of the time (the other 5% occurring after about 9pm), I'm sure any innocent bystander would be spurred to flee from the premises with their fingers in their ears. And yet to me, the quiet is more unnerving. I'm not sure if it's the deafening stillness (and being able to hear normal noises like birds outside, our dishwasher running, etc.), or just the knowledge that my babies are not under my watchful eye and care for a couple of days. I bet it's probably a combo of both. I know that on Friday when my Princesses and subsequently chaos return, I'll probably be wondering when I can get a break again. And yet, I'll be breathing in the activity and noise as well. It's what makes our home, "home".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Celebration of New Life

On Sunday, I was honored to have several of my friends help celebrate the birth of Princess #4 by hosting a "Sip 'n See". I love the idea of this pseudo-shower, since traditionally it's considered bad etiquette to have a shower for any baby other than the first. Really that "rule" totally annoys me since EVERY child brought into the world should be celebrated. So when I heard about sip 'n sees, I knew for sure that I wanted one for my babe-to-be.

Basically a sip 'n see is a shower that's held AFTER the baby is born. Gifts are not required, it's just an opportunity for people to come and have tea/punch/finger foods and ooh and ahh over the baby. Sort of a "coming out" party for the baby if you will. We scheduled ours for about 3.5 weeks after Princess #4's due date, not knowing for sure when she would arrive. It ended up being perfect timing due to the traumatic nature of her birth and my difficult recovery (more on that later). I needed that much time to feel up to going anywhere and so our sip 'n see truly was her "coming out" (Ok, so she did make it to Target once earlier in the week, but we didn't see anyone we knew!).

Can I just tell you how blown away I was by the whole thing? My lovely Southern Belle of a friend Katherine, hosted it in her home. If you ever want to be inspired to be creative, check out her blog: Once Upon a Twig (and see pics of the sip 'n see there!). I personally think she could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. The attention she gave to the tiniest details was amazing. I'm now totally feeling like I need to do more in my home and thanks to Katherine's little best kept secret ( I swear I won't tell Katherine!), I'm thinking I need to start trying antiquing.

In addition to the beautiful decorations we had an amazing cake and other yummy food provided by several other important people in my life. And as if that weren't enough, there were gifts to open (a nice surprise) and a money tree to help us out with buying a double stroller ( a necessity I'm discovering with 2 under 2).

I really HATE being the center of attention. Which is funny since in my younger days I LOVED theater and spent most of my time on stage. But when it's unscripted, I tend to feel uncomfortable in the spotlight. But I left on Sunday feeling so loved and appreciated. I really struggled during my pregnancy with feeling like people viewed the arrival of our fourth princess as no big deal. She was, afterall, our fourth child and fourth girl to boot! I mean, surely we had everything we needed and shouldn't expect too much following her birth, right? I was pretty hurt by some comments that I probably shouldn't have even bothered to think about twice. But the sip 'n see changed that. Our little Princess #4 was celebrated in a way every child should be. And I'm truly grateful.
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