Thursday, June 30

June in a nutshell, kind of

I never used to understand why people would let a whole month go by before they updated their blog. But I think now, three weeks after my last post, I'm beginning to understand. My beloved little blog is badly neglected because there isn't enough time to do everything that needs to be done, and writing a blog post when I've got a dirty house and bored kids just doesn't seem as justifiable as it once was.

Also, I have a one-year-old. And he doesn't stop moving unless he's getting into trouble. I forgot that fact about one-year-olds, but its all coming back to me now.

June is the best month of the year, but also one of the busiest. Three out of the five of us (Ryan, Jeremy and I) have birthdays in June, as well as my dad. They are all about a week apart which means we have birthday cake weekly. What's not to love about that? We were camping with Jeremy's family this year on my birthday, and at this stage of life that's about as good as it gets for my birthday. I didn't have to make breakfast, lunch or dinner, I didn't have to bathe any kids (though I probably should have), they played with cousins all day, Jeremy put them to bed, and I got to go out on the Rhino twice.

I turned 29 this year, and I've been thinking about how my life has changed while in my twenties. I think for most people that's the decade of their life that changes them the most, and for me it's definitely true. I got married two weeks after I turned 20, so it's hard to determine what changes and growth were a result of simply getting older, and which were a result of being in such an important relationship at such a young age. But while in my twenties I gained a huge amount of confidence. I still have such a long way to go to become truly confident in myself and my abilities, but compared to my teenage self I am now a confident person. I've also learned more about what my talents are. I used to think I didn't have any talents, especially because as a youth it seems that everyone focuses on "measurable" talents. Good grades, scoring well on tests, being the star of a sports team, being a performer, those are all measurable talents. Being a friend to the lonely, having an innate sense of right and wrong, being a good listener, dispensing good advice, those are all immeasurable talents and I've found most of my talents lie in that realm. What I didn't know when I was young was that those things are talents and that they are just as important, if not more than, the types most people focus on. I've also learned that some talents emerge later in life. Just in the past six months I've started to develop a talent I never thought I had. It makes me excited to think about what my life will look like in another ten years.

The thing that I find the most amazing is that I've learned all of these things and developed this confidence in myself all while being a stay at home mom. I haven't had a corporate world instill any of this in me, I've developed it all while doing a job that most people overlook as not being important. Yet, it's the hardest job of all and forces a lot of growth and introspection, and I consider myself extremely blessed that I get to be home with my kids, all day, every day. (Even on the REALLY bad days!)

Now onto those kids that keep me employed:

It has been nice to have Alexis home. I was a little worried she would get bored and that she would make a lot of messes. So far she hasn't gotten bored, but she has made a lot of messes. I think that will always be life with Alexis. She thinks big and her excitement and ideas cannot be contained. There's a direct correlation between how excited she is over her latest idea and how much junk is all over the floor of her bedroom; she simply cannot stop to bother with things like cleaning up. She is also a big help with Ryan. The other day she fed him all of his oatmeal without me even asking her too. I'm starting to really see the advantage of having a daughter first!

Tyler seems to be struggling a bit with being the middle child and with getting older and wanting some independence. He's had his share of troubles with Alexis, but she is also his best friend. When they fight, they FIGHT. When they play well together it's heaven on earth. He knows how to spell "Tyler", "Alexis" and "Dad" all by himself. Yesterday he wrote "DAD" on a piece of paper, then drew a circle around it and a line through it and then gave it to Jeremy. He was trying to be funny, and he succeeded. Then to really get at Jeremy he took another piece of paper, wrote "Mom" on it with a heart around it and gave it to me. And he hasn't stopped laughing about it since. He's inherited a funny trait from me: whenever he's concentrating he has to stick his tongue out. And since I'm trying to teach him how to swim now, he swallows a lot of pool water with that tongue always out. He has also decided to start complaining about having to turn lights off after he leaves a room. For some reason he REALLY hates that he has to turn a light off and will whine about it to no end. If it were just at night that we had this issue I would understand that he might be a little afraid of the dark, but he only complains about it during the middle of the day. Of all the weird things to get upset about! I wonder how long until he figures out that he should just stop turning the light on in the first place?

And that leaves Ryan. He once upon a time was such a happy baby who rarely cried, but he now lets his opinions be known. Unfortunately because he has yet to say any words, I don't know what those opinions are. He is just generally whiny for the last half of the day. Is he hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Bored? Uncomfortable? Sick of hefting around all of that weight? No one knows! Despite the whining (which really isn't terrible) he is still adored by everybody that sees him. He is a mama's boy, though he likes to tease me by always giving Jeremy a kiss when he asks for one, but rarely giving me one. He's thinned out some but is still very solid, has the worlds fattest feet (I've only found one pair of shoes that will kind of fit him), and has some very cute curls crowning his head. He loves to be outside any chance he gets and has recently discovered the joy of throwing rocks. He has also learned how to turn himself in a circle and will do that until he's dizzy. Then he gets mad because he's too dizzy to walk straight and starts crying. While he's crying he tries to walk to me so I'll pick him up, but usually ends up somewhere completely different because he can't tell where he's going. It's very funny to me, but not ever to him.
Now, I must go. I hope my next post won't be a year from now, beginning with: "I used to never understand how someone could go a whole year without posting on their blog..."

*All pictures are from our recent family reunion with Jeremy's family at Yuba Lake. It was so much fun and we are so blessed to be part of such an incredible family.

Wednesday, June 8

annual "first swim of the season" post

Last Wednesday, when Jeremy got home from work, I took Alexis and Tyler over to the pool so they could swim. They had been begging for a week, but the weather hadn't really been cooperating, so I made them wait. We unfortunately haven't been back since because I want to wait until it gets a little warmer before I take Ryan in. And because I'm too afraid to try on my swimsuit.

We've been feeling the tight quarters of our little townhome lately. We love it here, but when we moved here 6 years ago we had one one-year-old and plans to leave again in two or three years. Plans change and families grow, but lately we've started thinking about moving on. (Thinking about it, that's as far as we've gotten!) And in the winter when there are toys everywhere and not enough rooms and a garage too full of stuff to park in, I really feel cramped here. But then I take my kids to the pool and I start to think that we can stick around longer. There is nothing in the world that is more fun to Alexis than swimming. You can see it written all over her face, as she comes up out of the water to get a breath, her face is plastered with a smile. I think she's even smiling underwater, she just can't help it.

So we are lucky 3 months out of the year to have that pool right next to us, calling our names all summer long. If we move we'll have to swim with the masses at a community pool...

This summer I plan to teach Tyler how to swim without that frog floatie. When he went on Wednesday he said that the floatie wasn't holding him up very well, so I guess he's finally gotten too big for it. I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to devote to it since I'll have Ryan to watch out for as well, so lets hope he's a fast learner!

Thursday, June 2


Today my baby turned one.

He got a big green ball, balloons, and lots of things to prepare him for the swim season. What more could a little guy ask for?

Oh yeah. Cake.

For the boy whose favorite things are crayons (he likes to be sneaky and get them when I'm not looking and then suck on them), I felt a crayon cake would be appropriate.

I've decided I'm glad that cake decorating is not my creative outlet of choice. I have no patience for it! And it's hard for me to spend so much time on something you are just going to eat anyway (this is also my problem with cooking).

My first two kids needed help figuring out what to do with cake when they turned one, but Ryan needed no such assistance. First he tried to pick it all up...

Then he decided to lick a little off his finger...

And before long he had it all over his face, hands and tummy.

He would have kept going and going but I was afraid he would get a tummy ache so I finally took it away...

I've thought all day about what I wanted to write about Ryan. I've had millions of thoughts swim through my mind, but they never come out sounding quite the way I want them to, and I'm too tired to work at it. So I'll say this, whether or not it sounds right.

If I have any more children they will owe their existence to Ryan. He has restored my faith in babykind and in my abilities to mother a baby.

Before I had him I wasn't sure I could handle another baby; babies are hard for me because I have so little control. But the combination of his easy going nature, and me maturing as a mother over the past few years, has caused me to love having him as a baby. I've lamented often lately that I don't want him to grow up--I've done it enough that the kids have turned it into a game. They'll ask me, "Mom, do you want Ryan to turn one?" And I'll pretend to cry and say "NO!! NO!!" Then they'll say, "Mom, do you want Ryan to turn two??" And I'll pretend to cry and say, "NO!! NO!!", and on it goes until I have no more pretend tears.

I try to not have many regrets in life, but one thing I do regret is that I was not the same mom to the baby versions of Alexis and Tyler that I have been to Ryan. I'm so much more relaxed and appreciative of all the cute little things he does than I was with them. They were a little more difficult as babies, but most of it is me. I suppose I do have them, and the years I have under my belt mothering them, to thank for my ability to enjoy the stage Ryan is in.

In fact, just last night I watched him climb on and off of a rocking horse over and over, and I sat thinking about how it was the best part of my day. There's something so miraculous and beautiful about watching a strong, healthy baby learn and test and discover new things about their environment. Fortunately, I now recognize that.

And so, though I'd stop him from growing right now if I could, I am endlessly grateful that I get to witness the inevitable:

A child that starts as a tiny baby in my arms,

then grows into a toddler,

a young boy, and eventually a man.

Aren't I the luckiest?? (times three!)

**For the truest of Ryan's fans, here's the video I took yesterday of him playing on the rocking horse. I'm sure it's nothing exciting to most of you, but I loved every second of it. Also, I thought my regular voice sounded annoying on video, but my baby talk voice is WAY worse!