Friday, March 3, 2017


I am in the middle of what feels like a giant paradox of parenthood.  I feel pushed and pulled in a hundred directions as a mom. I have kids in varying stages who need me in different ways, and I don't always know how to be the right mom for each person.  The biggest weight recently has been the disconnect I feel from my baby.

He will be 21 months next week and he knows four words.  Four.  Ma, Da, Yeah, No.  He doesn't always say them consistently.  There is so much grunting and screaming and crying, and it's become a major source of frustration for both of us.  This week he's decided to start throwing everything in the toilet, and I feel like I'm losing my mind.  He got ear tubes almost a month ago, and while I realize there were probably hearing issues factoring into his speech that the tubes will help with, I want a quick fix.  A month feels like long enough for him to start talking, right?  (obviously, I know it doesn't, but oh how I wish it did)

My time as a mom has taught me that families can only move as quickly as the slowest member.  While the pace of life is getting faster with some of my kids, I feel mired down by a one year old.  Although he feels like a whirling dervish and it seems like he's moving quickly, he's really not.  I have always been the mom to relish slow days with my kids, but I think it's the push and pull that makes me kind of resent them instead.  We have very few slow days home together.  I'm busy taking Charlie back and forth to tutoring, taking Nellie to dance, driving preschool carpool, trying to fit in visits to my dad, doctor/dentist/ortho appointments for 7 people, phone calls, errands for groceries and school projects and a million other things, oh yeah, and clean the house and cook and do dishes and laundry with a tornado following along behind me.  If we have a slow day at home, it's usually because I'm letting go of one of the many things listed above that I should be doing.  Slow days often don't come without guilt.  Writing this makes me realize he could definitely use more slow days at home, but I'm not sure how to work those in.

Coupled with all of the feelings of frustration is a weight of sadness.  Wes is very likely our last baby, but I feel like I'm wishing away my days with him.  The frustration has crowded out the joy, and I feel like the moments I enjoy him are few and fleeting.  He cuddled with me for a minute, a rare treat, before his nap today. I watched his eyes fighting to stay open as we rocked.  I let it soak in.  I know the times I have left in this stage of motherhood are coming to a close. Thinking about it shatters me because I love having babies.  I have loved having a family.  I love watching my kids grow and learn.  I love seeing their successes and helping them through the hard parts.  I can't imagine doing anything else right now.

And so, the paradox.  My emotions are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with love and gratitude and guilt and sadness and frustration all taking turns at center stage.  I know (at least I hope, but I think on number five I can say I know) that a few months from now I'll come back and read this and things will have changed.  Things come to pass, not to stay.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

so someday I'll remember

I have spent most of my adult life not being a very political person.  It's been a topic that I've just steered clear of, tired of the fighting, not wanting to offend others by jumping into the fray, and honestly more worried about the problems in my own home than the problems in Washington.  This year things have changed.  It's not that I'm not worried more about my own home, it's that I'm realizing how things happening in Washington could impact those things, and it's not ok.  I'm not usually an alarmist, but the rise of our current administration has set off a lot of bells and whistles for me.  It's a good thing I don't work for him currently, because if I was a member of the state department and said I disagreed, my job would be gone today.  That kind of censorship is terrifying.

There are many things that bother me about where we are right now as a nation.  We've elected someone who does not in my mind have the makings of a good leader.  I consider good leaders to be people with integrity.  I want a leader I can trust.  I want a leader who puts the needs of others before their own.  I think good leaders practice servant leadership.  I don't see any of these qualities in our current leader. Many tried to point out that he would surround himself with the best and brightest.  The people he's chosen to surround himself with make me even more nervous.  I see friends and family who are so relieved it's not the other candidate that they feel like they can sit back and relax.  Both candidates were equally abhorrent to me, just in different ways, and honestly in some of the same ways.  Our vigilance can't stop just because thank heavens it's not Clinton.

Part of my job as a history teacher was to inspire civic involvement.  After I hung up my teaching hat, civic involvement took a back seat for too long. Right now I see freedoms starting to slip and it makes me nervous. I see an executive branch attempting to remove checks and balances through use of executive orders. I see a need for action.  I am hopeful that I can find my role in it all.  I alternate between contacting my congressmen and trying to focus on doing good in my own sphere.  I'm hopeful that a backlash of goodness will help to balance out the craziness happening, because if it's doing anything, it's helping people realize they have to act.

I wanted to write about this because I feel like in the future, it's something I will want to look back on.  What were my feelings after Trump's first week in office?  Here they are.  I'm strapping on my seatbelt because I fear we're in for a wild ride.

Friday, January 13, 2017

On the passage of time

Today Facebook told me I had memories from this day to look back on.  

Six years ago today I was finding out about something I missed in my dad's COBRA paperwork that was going to interfere with his insurance coverage.  I remember the stress of that time and trying to figure out how I was going to navigate the mistake, although I don't remember all of the specifics. 

Five years ago today we found out we were having a girl, and Addie was beyond excited.  We had a late ultrasound and brought pink cupcakes to surprise our family waiting for the news.  I was so excited to add another girl to our mix. 

Three years ago today we moved all our belongings into the garage of our home and moved ourselves into a hotel for several days while we waited for our windows to be reinstalled.  Long, long, frustrating days after 7 months of our build that I wouldn't want to relive. 

It struck me looking back on these events how much happens in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Each of those years looked so different, from being up to my chin in caregiving to being completely elated to welcome another baby to being so exhausted from a marathon build process.  Today if I were to summarize the day, it would talk about going to a doctor's appointment, grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking and celebrating Sam's birthday with friends tonight.  It would talk about how loud a few 9 and 10 year olds can be, and how grateful I am for the good kids we're surrounded with.  It would talk about how much mess can be made in a kitchen after making homemade pizzas.  It would also talk about how grateful I am to be where I am right now.

Wes is hard right now with ear infections and lack of words and lots of screaming and whining, but even with those few difficult behaviors, I feel some of the fog of the first 18 months starting to lift.  I feel myself being able to do a little more than I have been.  When we made goals for the year, one of my goals this year was to have people over more often.  Addie gave a big sigh of relief because it's been the norm for a long time to have people over, but since Wes was born I had to recognize the things that had to go, and that was one of them.  I've retreated from a lot of things over the last 18 months (really, longer, when I factor in being pregnant).  My energy has been limited, and so I've had to put it where it's really mattered.  As I've started to get out of the haze, I can feel myself stretching out again, willing to gather some of the things that have fallen by the wayside back into my life.  It feels good to get back to some of those things that bring me  joy.  I don't want to take on too much too soon, but there are friendships I've neglected, words I haven't written, music I haven't played, parties I haven't had, and things I haven't learned that have waited for me.  There are plenty of things I have learned, and learning how to be selective with my time and energy during different seasons of life is one of those lessons.  I'm hopeful that as I reach out again, I can enjoy taking things on without overextending.  Life is a constant balancing act.  Time passes oh so quickly, and I don't want to regret how I'm spending it.  I'm grateful for the little Facebook memories today that reminded me just how fast time flies.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

For me

There is so much happening in this stage of life.  Five kids is no joke.  Right now is a quiet moment.  The big 3 are at school.  Nellie is at preschool.  Wes is napping after his 6:30 am wake up call.  I've exercised and read a conference talk.  I've packed 3 lunches, listened to a home reading book, done hair for 1, picked out clothes for 3, and gotten 4 kids out the door. I've made breakfast for 5, and after I write then I'll make it for myself. I've loaded two dishwashers and started a load of laundry.  It's Monday, so we're digging out from the weekend.  There are still chores to be done, but I need a minute to sit.  Last week was tough on the parenting front.  I poured out my heart to Pat about a lot of things.  Specific challenges with specific children.  My overall feelings of trying to leave survival mode but feeling weighed down every time I make a step towards something more.  It feels like it's been a while since I've thrived.  I'm missing it. After listening for a while, Pat asked me when was the last time I blogged.  I kind of laughed.  Instagram has taken over blogging for me most of the time.  I can jot down my thoughts with a quick sub-par picture and after so many, they all get printed and shipped and it's the best journaling I've done in ages.  I'm still yet to devote the time to make a blog book (although it's on the very long list of projects to tackle someday).  The thing I think he was getting at, and the thing I already know, is that I need to write. I need to be able to process through writing.  I need to be able to re-read and see how I've grown or how things have changed or how they haven't or how much wisdom I had at one point when I seem fresh out of ideas currently.  The face of blogging has changed dramatically.  I still read blogs, though I don't think many do.  The amount of blogs I read has dwindled as the authors have stepped away.  I don't fault them.  I feel like blogging was easier in my twenties with less kids, less demands on my time, just less.  But the thing is, for me blogging helps me be more.  And when I'm in the middle of feeling like I can't be more, I think Pat was on to something in suggesting it become part of my life again.  So I'm back.  I don't promise any regularity.  I don't promise any superb writing.  I don't promise anything, really. I'm making an effort to take care of myself in a lot of ways right now, and hopefully this will just be another one that helps me feel taken care of. I'm coming back for me.  If you're here too, great! Say hi!  Visit as long as you'd like.  But if not, it's ok.  It's for me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


photo by Jessica Haderlie

There are certain things that need to be recorded.  The arrival of a baby is one of them.  Before my brain gets too fuzzy on the details (although that may have already happened at this point), I want to record the birth of our number 5.

Pregnancy this time was definitely more difficult than it had been previous go-rounds.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that my body had been through this so many times before, or the fact that I'm getting older, but the end of pregnancy brought discomfort.  I was hopeful that I may go into labor on my own.  I had contractions for several weeks, but no such luck.  I was facing another induction and felt torn about what to do.  There was an error made when my due date was recorded, and it was written as Saturday, the 13th, instead of Friday, the 12th.  I thought I would choose the 10th and split the difference between the June birthdays that already were taking place that week, but the midwives recommended I choose the soonest date possible because of my desire to avoid another shoulder dystocia.  Since I couldn't get induced on Saturday, the soonest date was the 8th, the day after Nellie's birthday.  It was not ideal in my mind, but we went for it.

The drive to the hospital was peaceful, and we arrived at 7 am.  My nurse was friendly and kind, and her oldest had just graduated from high school, so we talked about how quickly time passes and the different parenting stages we have to look forward to.  Katherine, the midwife, arrived around 8 and we started pitocin.  Contractions started coming so quickly once the pitocin started, and I felt a mixture of excitement and panic that labor may be considerably shorter than it had been in the past.  When I had Nellie, I was so glad that I'd had an epidural due to the shoulder dystocia, and I didn't want to miss out on an epidural this time since repeat dystocia's are common.  Around 9 I received my epidural, and although I was relieved to know that I would have it for the delivery, it made laboring miserable.  I asked Pat to hold my hand because I couldn't stop shaking.   I felt hot and then cold.  My teeth chattered and I itched all over.  Essentially I traded one discomfort for another, but I was still glad to have made that choice.

Around 11:30 the nurse came in and I felt the familiar I'm-going-through-transition nausea.  She held alcohol wipes under my nose to try to help me not throw up, and surprisingly I avoided the pink bin.  I told her to come back in half an hour and I'd be ready to have a baby.  I was right. My nurse had taken her lunch but stayed close by, so they paged her to come back along with Katherine, and I felt like they were taking forever.  After 2 pushes our sweet boy arrived at 12:21 pm, my shortest labor and one of my easiest deliveries (and no dystocia after all of my worries!).

Deciding on a name was an agonizing process.  We took our list, but I just couldn't pull the trigger until the end.  We used a family name from my side after a great-great grandfather named Andrew Wesley, our boy would be Wesley Andrew.  Wes has been a dream.  Watching his siblings dote on him all summer has been the sweetest, and I can't imagine our family without him.  We love our Wes.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Right after we had Nellie, we maybe hadn't left the hospital yet, the husband looked at me and said, "We're not done yet."  Although to me it felt too soon to talk about it, neither one of us felt that our family was complete.  Luckily we had a newborn, and I knew we wouldn't have to think about that for a while, but that simple sentence that we weren't done rolled around in my head for a while.  


Two years passed quickly, and I started to wonder what the future would hold regarding our family size.  It became something I thought about daily and discussed often.  The idea of being done sounded so nice, but still never felt quite right.  I became anxious, feeling like if our family really wasn't complete, I wanted to get the show on the road.  The husband reminded me that I would be happier with the right timing then just hurrying to get that baby here.  I knew he was right, but the topic still weighed on my mind daily.  


Mid-September I had several days in a row that felt like the ultimate in contentment.  I am not sure that I'll ever forget the moment I was driving down the road, the warm sun beating in the windows, all the kids in the car, and feeling the most overwhelming sense of peace.  I felt the love of God deeply, and my heart was calm.  I knew that whatever was happening with our family planning, it was in His hands, and everything would be just as it was supposed to.  The feelings of peace and love lasted for a few days and I soaked them up.  Writing about it makes it feel trivial, but it was a sacred time for me that I don't want to forget.  


As October general conference weekend approached I thought about the October conference 3 years ago when I had just found out we were pregnant with Nellie and heard a message that spoke right to my heart.  I found myself wishing for that same experience this time around.  October conference came and went without that experience. 


I was sitting in a late night meeting two days after conference and couldn't keep my eyes open.  I was tired to the bone and realized I might need to take a test.  Wednesday I went to the grocery store after I took Charlie to school.  The immediate positive came, and I tried to call the husband.  He didn't answer, so I texted him a picture of the test.  I'm not sure the last time I got a faster call back when he was at work.  We had a sweet conversation about how surreal this seemed and how excited we are.


We took a trip to Boise for fall break and decided to tell the kids before we left.  I knew the odds were good I wouldn't feel good while we were gone, and I was ready to share the news with them.  Their reaction was the best.  They all ran around the house singing "we're having a baby" and haven't stopped talking about it since.  Nellie is insistent that it's a girl and doesn't want to think about the possibility of a boy baby.  Watching my kids excitement has been the best.  They need one more sibling in the mix.  

The last little while has been full of nausea and naps and wrapping my head around having 5 kids.  There is not the same reception to #5 that there is to #1 (not that I'm expecting it), and that same judgment that I was worried about with #4 seems multiplied with #5.  It's not about anyone else, truly, but I still worry that I'll really be able to manage 5 kids in a way that I will feel good about.  It feels like a more personal pregnancy, somehow more reverent as I'm trying to focus on what is right for our family instead of what others may think.  I have always said that I need to receive a very clear "done" when our family is complete, and I'm very hopeful for that feeling this time.  In the mean time, I'm trying to embrace all the parts of being pregnant for (hopefully- fingers crossed) the last time.  I don't feel good, but I know it will pass.  I'm exhausted, but I know it's just preparing me for the long nights ahead.  I'm looking forward to feeling the baby move and having the big ultrasound.  I'm hopeful that nesting will kick in and motivate me to get things done here that I've been meaning to do for months- it's time for some pictures on the walls.  I gave into maternity pants at 6 weeks.  I'm 10 weeks today, 1/4 of the way done.  I know that even though pregnancy feels long, it won't last forever, and I might even miss it someday. In the mean time I'm looking forward to June.  Welcome to our family, #5.    

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

a recipe for a Wednesday

I buy bananas almost every time I grocery shop, but I don't remember the last time I actually just ate a banana.  Their fate is always smoothies or muffins at my house.  I had a request for my banana muffin recipe today and thought I'd share it here while I was already typing it up.  My kids love these, and when I have a lot of bananas I double the batch and freeze half for quick breakfasts.

1 c. sugar (I usually cut this by up to half)
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (I've omitted this when I'm out without a problem)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c. oil (I often use canola, but they are delicious with coconut oil or butter, and I've also subbed applesauce for the oil although it decreases the banana flavor)
3 eggs
2 c. mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients.  Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.  This can also be made in loaves, bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 1 hour.