Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's Heaven to be Seven!

Oh, William.  I struggle with you.  I do.  I'm writing that here because I'm not afraid to tell you that in person now or when you are old enough to "get it."

When you are at school or when you are asleep I think about you constantly.  And when I think about you these are the words that immediately come to mind:

You are such a good kid.

And then I tear up for not being the mom I wish I could be for you.

You are at the top of your class.  Your teacher said so at conferences a couple of weeks ago.

You have exactly one hundred quadrillion friends.

You are seriously handsome.

You have a deep love for every one of your siblings.

But the minute you walk into the house, things happen.  And I get frustrated.  And you press on.  And I get mad.  And you react.

You are an instigator.

So there we are.

When I sit down to analyze it, I know exactly what it is.  And you are so self aware at the tender age of seven that you even verbalized it to me.

You said: Mom, I think Mrs. S (your teacher) is better than you because she has things for me to do.  Like, activities and stuff.  And you don't.

And so there it is, my boy.  You're at the top.  The oldest.  The one with all the expectations over your head.  The one who should know better.  And take care of himself.  And help out.  The one who is expected to sit still.  And be quiet.  When all the others are not.

But your little mind cannot stop.  You are a do-er.  You need to be working constantly.

You are getting A LOT of Lego sets for your birthday.

You are reading fluently now.  I can pick any book off the shelf and you can read it with little to no trouble.

We thought you might struggle with math since you rarely showed interest.  And then, to our surprise, we received a letter from school requesting our permission to move you into an advanced math class.

You are now allowed to roam our neighborhood (within a block) without supervision.  And you always return the minute I call your name.

You love superheroes and comic books and Ninja turtles and Ghostbusters.

You can recite the entire Despicable Me movie from start to finish. Your memory is crazy.

You are a bad, bad, bad joke-teller.  And a really terrible smile-r for pictures.

Your favorite toys are Marble Run, Snap Circuits and Lego sets.  But funny thing: the minute the Lego set is assembled, you care nothing about it.  You are passionate about assembly and step-by-step instruction-following.

You are responsible when given the chance.  I'm the first to admit I'm too much of a micro-manager and you are much more capable than I give you credit.  You never forget your library books on Wednesday.  Or the days you get to have hot lunch.  You are quick to retrieve toilet paper or Kleenex boxes in the basement closets for me.  You carry full laundry baskets up and down stairs.  You take showers by yourself.  You lay out your clothes the night before.  You make your bed and take out the recycling.

You love football and golf.

You are a really good friend.  And big brother too.

You can get your brother out of his crib and downstairs before I can.  And you can zip others' coats and put on their shoes too all before I even get to the back door.

You share a room with your baby brother and many nights we let you fall asleep in our bed so that you can read with the light on while Bobby sleeps.  Later in the night Dad or I come upstairs to move you into your own bed.  And sometimes, straight out of the Love You Forever book, I'll pick up your great, big seven-year-old body and rock you while you're half in, half out of sleep.

It's the only chance I get to do this when you're not squirming about or trying to make a joke of it all.

I'm not sure if you remember it the next morning or not.  Maybe one time I'll ask you.

But know this for sure: I love you  and am so, so incredibly proud of you.  Our family would not be the same without our goofy, kind, thoughtful, blue-eyed William.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

5 Reasons I Haven't Been Blogging

Wow.  This is my first post for the month of November.  I have a few posts I started writing but never got the chance to edit or publish.  Story of my life.  Here's why I haven't been posting:

1. We got a piano!  Brian's mom gave us theirs.  And it's awesome.  I don't know how to play.  I wish I did.  Brian is the only one of his siblings who can really play so he was the obvious choice for this gift of inheritance.  Playing the piano is one of Brian's top favorite things to do of all time.  So I was a bit surprised when he protested as I was setting up logistics.  I picked the spot in our house.  I set the ground rules for the kids.  I hired the piano tuner.

And when it was all said and done, he stood back and said, "Wow, that looks awesome."

And it really does.  I'm so delighted that my kids will grow up in a home with a piano.  And to be honest, the worries we had about the kids banging on it and waking up nappers, hasn't really been an issue at all. 
2. We got our pictures taken!  With a real photographer.  Who happens to be a dear friend.   Instead of trying to get the perfect formal shot (with four kids it ain't happening) I just had her follow us around the house on a normal Saturday morning.  We did get a few posed shots at the end but mostly I wanted her to catch my kids in their element because that's what I want to remember when this season of my life is over.  She did not disappoint.  There are a few sneaks on my Facebook page if you're interested but I'm saving the rest until Christmas cards are signed, sealed and delivered.  One thing that surprised me is how the pictures made me fall in love with our way-too-small but character-filled home all over again.
It's never the right time.  There's never enough money.  No one ever looks just perfect.  But I'm so glad we did it anyway.  So worth the time and energy.

3.  We've been running marbles!  What's that, you say?

A couple weeks ago while Katherine and Bobby were napping and I was just finishing my lunch I went into our porch to tidy up a bit before William and Lucy came home from school.  Earlier in the day Lucy had drug out the Marble Run box and started putting some pieces together.  We got the toy for William for his birthday last year.  It was played with quite consistently for the first few months but has been forgotten about recently.

As I was picking up the beginnings of Lucy's construction I thought to myself, "Well, if I just stick this turn-y thing here, and the twist-y thing there..."  And before I knew what was happening I blew away 45 minutes BY MYSELF putting together a massive marble run project.  I was pretty proud: I used every single piece.

When the kids got home from school I was like a little 5-year-old: "Come look what I did!"  I got Coolest Mom Award that day.
We played with it all afternoon and have been building new runs almost every day since.  If you have kids ages four and up, stick it on their Christmas list.  Good fun had by all.

4. I've been workin' out!  When the cold blew in, as it does every year in Minnesota, my running legs turned into big fat cry babies.  I knew I couldn't go the whole long winter without running and let all my good training go down the drain.  So I tagged on to Brian's gym membership.  I love it.  Well, kind of I love it.  I like that I'm getting my workouts in.  But I have found out that I loathe the treadmill.  It gets the job done but it's boring.  And hard on my joints.  Brian is trying to convince me to give the elliptical a chance but I'm not sold.  Is it the same as running?  For some reason it seems a bit like an easier way to say I ran 3 miles.  I like that I can set the pace on the treadmill to "force" myself to run faster and so that's why the elliptical doesn't seem like an equivalent. Gym-goers, what say you?

Regardless of my running dilemmas, one thing the gym is providing me with is an outlet to get back into yoga.  I haven't done serious yoga in quite some time.  Yoga isn't for everyone but I have found that it plays a key role in my overall well-being.  I just can't find the quiet, the stretching, the strengthening that yoga provides all on my own.

5.  We've been being awesome!  Things are getting better around here.  And what I mean by that is that when I sit down to write a post I don't immediately think about all the things I want to complain about. (Except Halloween.  I still hate Halloween.)  Bobby has been sleeping better and has, to be frank, become rather delightful and, dare I say, easy.  This month has been a blessing in that the weather has still been decent enough to get out and play and yet the sun is down early which means my tribe is in bed early which means I have more down time before Brian and I go to sleep.  It's a win all around.
Wake up, Dad!
And for the first time in two years, I'm looking forward to a winter and holiday season without a newborn.  Newborns are so amazing in their own way.  But they are tricky.  And time-consuming.  And they don't play well with others.  As Bobby nears his first birthday, I'm really starting to feel like our family is one unit.  Bobby doesn't rely on my boobs every two hours just to survive.  Instead I can make dinner, while William dishes out Cheerios and Lucy and Katherine belt out some tunes on the piano.  We still have outbursts and meltdowns daily.  That's right, I said daily.  And that's what it really is all about.  Setting the proper expectations.  But now everyone can play a part in making this family run and that's lifted a lot of weight off my shoulders.
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