{one}

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

{one}

 

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

{one}

inspired by a favorite blogger: {one} photo from the week. {one} photo that sums it up, offers it up. {one} that somehow captures it. what it is, i’m not quite sure. do you have {one}? share it in the comments.

Snow Day (crazy edition)

It was all fun for the first day…and even the second day. But as we rounded out day 5 (yes, FIVE days of being stuck in the house), we all got a little craaaazy. Yesterday was wild stuff…today we escaped, along with the rest of the eastside. So, so grateful to have a car, albeit a small one, with 4wd.Ryan is LOVING her Connect4 game. So much that she’s now hugging it. This after she played with her imaginary friend.

Asher is watching the crazy, taking it all in. Good times – pretty sure she’s well entertained.

The biggers headed out into the snow. Note Finleigh’s sunglasses? Gobbles, she says. Very important.

Even the art got a little goofy. Tape and popsicle sticks. And googly eyes.

Chocolate chip cookies in muffin liners. Why not?

There is a bottle of bubbles under there. It’s about 8″ tall.

We busted out the scissors. Time for a haircut!!

Cute! And about 4″ shorter. Nice job, mommy.

Oooh, a new carrier for Asher! Been stalking the mailman for this one. Thank you for bringing rainbows on such dreary days.

Good choice. THIS is where the Wild Things are. Little banshees.

Chaos, you’ve come to stay.

Oh yes, this night is looking up.

three months

And what a whirlwind it’s been. I’m a firm believe that each is given what they can handle at the moment, and Asher has been just what this family needs right now. She’s so sweet and mellow, laughs easily and smiles a lot. She adores her big sisters, and they adore her (fight over her is more like it). We’re settling nicely into have three kids, and I have to admit, just like when the others came into our lives, I can’t imagine life without her.
Happy three months, Asher! We’re so, so glad you’re here.

What’s your resolution?

So, last year I resolved to be more present. For lack of a better phrase, I failed. Badly. But in my defense, I got pregnant at the end of January, went through a challenging pregnancy, packed, moved, gave birth, and just tried to keep my head above water for the better part (ok, all) of 2011. The year was a total blur.

Not 2012. I’m determined to not let that happen. This year, I will not only find ways to be more present in my friendships, my parenting, and with myself, but I will also add to it intention. I need to stop letting life smack me upside the head, and start taking it by the hand. I don’t believe I can necessarily accomplish one without the other.

And, to top it all off, I want to be braver. I already think I’m a pretty ballsy person, but I’m not sure that balls=bravery. I find that I often play it safe, choosing the less controversial, the less adventurous, the safer options. Not this year. I’m 32, and I’m ready to push the envelope even more than I already do. I’m not sure what challenges this will involve, but I’m excited to find out.

I’m not crazy enough to try to commit to another 365 photo project, but I will be reviving my 52 project. You can look forward to seeing those pictures highlighted here on the blog.

I’d also like to begin to accept submissions for uplifting birth stories. They don’t have to be homebirths, but they do need to be positive. I know SO many women who’ve had such varying experiences, all beautiful, that I want to share those in one place. Bonus points if you have photos, since y’all know how much I love pictures.

And did I mention that I signed up to run the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in June? You know, just a half. Just 13.1 miles. And I hope to journal my training here, and share more about my running journey.

So, you know, not much. Just a few little things. How ’bout you? What are your resolutions this year?

Editing to add: I’ve challenged my whole family to a 365 project of sorts: 365 miles in 365 days. A fun, sort of competitive way to get healthy as a family (my brother, sis-in-law, and parents are in on it). I have a feeling a few of us might go double or nothing…

Struggling

I struggle with so many things as a parent; we’d be lying if we said we didn’t. I struggle to get my toddler to eat, my big girl to stop dawdling, my littlest to sleep. I struggle to run 2 miles, to hold a plank for a minute. Somedays I struggle to get a shower or eat breakfast. But these are physical struggles, and I know they can be overcome with hard work and perseverance.

But this is not that sort of struggle. The one I’m wrestling with these days, under the surface of all the other daily struggles, is my belief system, and thus, the beliefs we raise our children with. We’re not very religious people. Spiritual, yes. Religious, no.

We were both raised with a bit of a mishmash of religions. Me, everything from Presbyterian or Mormonism, Judaism to Catholicism (seriously, all of that, one childhood). Michael, raised in an Ashram with world religions all around, but Eastern religions pervasive.

Neither of us gave religion, or what religion we’d raise our kids with much thought. We didn’t think we’d need to. Raise your kids to be good people, et voila, it’s all good. But what we forgot is that we live in a religious society, one where Christianity is everywhere, and we’d encounter religion constantly.

Ryan came home from school the other day with a little rhyme about making the #7: “Through the sky and down from heaven, that’s the way to make a seven.” Of course, she wanted to know what “heaven” was. And here’s where I start to bumble. For someone who’s pretty good with words, I was at a loss. Because really, I don’t know what heaven is. What do I believe in?

I tried to explain as best I could: dying (which is still a tricky concept for her), up above the sky, where God is. Oh, wait, God. There’s another subject she’s unclear on. Again, because I am. (and none of this is to discount Michael’s role in all this, it’s just that I’m the one home, so I get the big questions that usually require immediate answers) Ryan’s told us before that God doesn’t exist. Which probably means I got a little too existential with one of my explanations, and little Miss Literal took it to heart. OK, fine. But God does exist. Maybe not literally, but in some sort of bigger way, something bigger than us, must. Humans have named that God, and given it a (male) persona, but I don’t know if I believe that.

A sweet friend posted a link to a blog the other day; it seemed quite appropriate for Christmastime, and certainly rang true for me.

Women can tell this part of the story this Christmas, the glimpse behind the veil, the life lived in the in-between of the stuff of God. There is a story on your lips, isn’t there, mama? of how you saw the face of God in the midst of fear or pain or joy and understood, really understood, Mary, not kneeling chastely beside a clean manger refraining from touching her babe, just moments after birth but instead, sore and exhilarated, weary and pressing a sleepy, wrinkled newborn to her breasts, treasuring every moment in her heart, marvelling not only at his very presence but at her own strength, how surrender and letting go is true work, tucking every sight and smell and smack of his lips into her own marrow.

(http://deeperstory.com/incarnation/)

It’s what I find wrong with so much of religion; it’s all about men, and how men have made it, forgetting the very humanness of birth.

Michael and I have major issues with organized religion, and we’re both pretty clear that we don’t believe in Jesus as savior. But beyond that? But you can’t raise kids on what you DON’T believe in. I feel like I need to define my beliefs, and maybe it’s less for the kids and more for myself. And maybe I don’t think beliefs can really be defined in such a quantitative way. Maybe I need to explore Buddhism more. Sometimes, I’m quite jealous of friends who have such defined belief systems. It would certainly be easier for me to have one. But I don’t.

Part of this has come up as a natural introspection post-birth. Birth really does bring out the spirituality in so many of us. Part of this is due to the holidays, and our desire to create traditions for our kids, and wondering how to define them without the context of Christianity or Judaism (Solstice?).

So, where do I go from here? I’m not sure. I did find two books that might help: Raising Freethinkers: A practical guide for parenting beyond belief and Parenting Beyond Belief: on raising ethical, caring kids without religion. I’ll let you know where this all lands as it evolves.

What I do know, is that I believe in goodness, and family, and love. And the sun and the moon, and that it all keeps turning. And as the Mamas and the Papas sang, “to everything, there is a season, and a purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

STILL pregnant

No, this is not a comment on comments made…in fact, most friends seem to feel like this pregnancy has flown by.

I, on the other hand, do not feel as such. It seems as though I’ve been pregnant FORever.

A friend pointed out tonight, and somehow this was the first it dawned on me: our lives have changed ENTIRELY in the last 9 months. Since last February, we, as a family:

celebrated Finleigh’s first birthday

found out we were (unexpectedly) pregnant with our third

had our condo on the market

finally got our “maybe house” and moved

Ryan started kindergarten

bought a new (to us) minivan

sold off all of the REgarding Peanut inventory

and, soon, will have our third girl join our family.

It’s no wonder I’ve been reeling lately. It’s no wonder Michael has been on edge. And really, it’s a wonder the girls have been as awesome as they have been with all the stress we’ve had.

But to be honest, this has been an easy pregnancy. I worked out up until 35w. I’ve had very few aches and pains, and have really been pretty comfortable. That said, I’m whiny, cranky, and I’d much prefer to give birth over being pregnant. Now, at 37w, we’re excited to meet this little girl, and introduce her to our friends and family.

I know our lives will continue to grow and change over the years, and that staying stationary is never an option, but I would love (LOVE) to settle, just a little bit, into some sort of routine, just so we can all breathe a bit.

{all photos are taken by my AMAZING photog friend Chantelle of http://www.livelovelaughphotographblog.com/}

First day of Kinder

Yep, yesterday, we sent our first baby, our Peanut, to Kindergarten. One small step for her, one giant step for mom and dad.

It’s so much more than just a first day of school. It’s the first day of her joining the public school institution; of US, as a family, joining that institution, and is the beginning of the next 13 years of her life.

I did good yesterday. I hid behind my camera, focusing and f-stopping to avoid crying. It worked. I got great shots and held it together. Of course, now, writing this, the tears are pouring. Can I blame it on the pregnancy?

She loved it though. She made a little friend, sat next to some boys on the bus (was disappointed to not find a girl to sit with), and enjoyed her teacher, Mrs. T.

Test Drive

Do you ever feel a little like you’re still test driving the life you’re living? I know that sounds strange, and maybe very un-“live in the moment” but occasionally I feel like I’m still trying it on, seeing if it fits, and tossing it back on the ground as if it doesn’t quite work for me.

Yes, I know, I have 2 kids and one on the way. One who’s a bit of a surprise, and still I sometimes think “oh my, am I really going to have 3 little girls in all of 7 weeks?” Yes, I know I have a house now, which makes me feel rather grown up, but again, like I might be a bit of a poser. Yes, I am a landlord now, again, making me appear much more grown up than I feel I am. And these are only a few of the things that make me feel like I’m still trying on this life. Still test driving it to see if I want to buy in…except someone else (myself, actually) already bought it and gave me the keys. And it’s what I have, so I drive it.

Where the heck did all this come from? It definitely started with test driving minivans last week. Three kids doesn’t really leave you a whole lot of options for toting them around, and though a station wagon could fit all the necessary carseats, it wouldn’t leave a lot of room for groceries. So minivan it is, but man, it felt strange driving one. And will continue to feel strange. Part of me wants to camp it up, embrace it and go all “soccer mom” on it. Part of me wants to RUN to the Audi dealership and buy a TT that I can’t afford and won’t hold all of my kids, but damn, would be fun to drive.

It could be that Ryan started Kindergarten this week. That Finleigh is wanting to learn to use the potty and saying about 10 new words each day. That we are having our house painted. That we found renters for our condo. That I’m due in all of 7 weeks.

Or it could just be that some days, some weeks, I feel like I’m just a kid, trying on the grown up clothes and finding they’re still kinda big, they still look a little silly, and I still have a lot of growing to do before they’ll really fit.