Around Here Thirty: 07/22-07/28

Friday, July 29, 2016

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Hours Outside:  331 hours (of 1000)
omi, I did terrible this week!  Only up 13 hours! We had a heat wave up here so the humid heat and the bright shining sun had me hesitant to take Rusty outside, thus keeping me in during the day too.  We did rack up some hours at Grey's last all-star baseball tournament on Friday night (he bawled when they lost; he was so sad that the baseball season was over!).  We snuck out to Gigi and Pappy's pool one evening for a wonderful night swim and I got out with the dogs a few days for a walk.  Must, must, must do better this week!

Reading When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling with Greyson before bedtime (we're on chapter five!)  I finished The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain this week and had that feeling that I was glad it was over because I got sucked in a little too much (meaning I was ignoring chores to finish it, hah). It turned out to be a great summer whodunit type of read that kept me interested the whole way through!

Celebrating our friends at their wedding last Saturday and getting a chance to dance and enjoy our whole Adams family all together.  Gemma was a dancing queen and totally swooning over all things bride&groom and the photo booth (as always) was a huge hit with our kids. Congratulations Bryn & Ryan!!

Thinking "I am having so much fun" at Zumba.  I know it sounds terrible, but as a momma, most of my having fun is of the empathetic variety; I'm having fun only because thy kids are having fun.  Their joy brings me joy even when the activity we're doing is actually not that fun for me.  So when I was shaking my booty and straight up laughing at how uncoordinated I felt this week, I was delighted to have the thought float across my mind.  I was having my own actual fun.

Loving Violet's little voice.  She started calling Bud Daddio and now has updated all of our names when she is feeling playful.  I'm Mummio, and Greyio, Gemmio, and Rustio.  She called Bullet, Bullio the other night.  She pronounces please as "meese" and I love it so much it hurts me.  The other two big kids, at her age, were determined to speak sentences as fast as grownups, so they would make word-sounding noises and then say the main word at the end - like "blehblehbleh garbage can" and from the situation and their gestures, Brandon and I could figure out what they were saying.  But our Violet is so determined to say each word right.  Last night she said "Hold - Me - Garbage - Can - Daddy - Meese?" all broken up with pauses between each word so she'd get them all right (translation "Can I hold the garbage can daddy, please?").  She is such a little perfectionist, in more than words too; spending incredible amounts of time trying, without feeling frustrated, to get things just perfect - like putting on her own shoes, or stacking things.  I love getting to learn more about her personality a little more each day as she turns into herself.

Playing the Jelly Belly Bean Boozled game and laughing hysterically..except when Brandon and I both ate a 'canned dog food' jelly bean when we were hoping for chocolate pudding.  yeah, except for that.

Crossing the finish line of the Rotten eight!!  We did it!  And it went the fastest it's ever gone - which doesn't mean it was any easier, but we made it!  I am so happy to get some energy back and regular working brain power again.  My efficiency levels are normalizing and I'm feeling like a real life human again...granted an indentured servant at a milk factory, but a human instead of a zombie at least.  Rust is letting me sleep about 6 hours a night and he's making more eye contact and giving us smiles that brighten our souls.  Eight weeks with him already feels like we've never been without him!

Making lots of yummy lunches and dinners for myself that fit within my 21 day fix requirements.  I had this Chipotle inspired rice bowl several times because it is delicious and filling!  B made The Pioneer Woman's Marlboro Sandwiches one night and the girls made Inside Out Smore bars for dessert on What's cookin' Wednesday in which Brandon ate (not kidding) nearly half of the pan for breakfast the following morning.  And holy moley - these Hawaiian crockpot Meatballs were awesome!!

arms wide full

Thursday, July 28, 2016

There's a dance craze that's been going on for centuries, maybe since the beginning of time.  It's immediately recognizable, I'm sure you've seen it and probably done it yourself.   I call it the babymomma shuffle.  you know that one? There's variations on the moves, but at it's basic level, it's a momma holding a baby and bouncing or swaying gently.

I've been doing the babymomma shuffle for the past six years, almost continuously, so my body does it even when I'm not holding a baby.  It might be cause for concern.

In any case, the other week in church, I handed my Rusty off to Gigi to give my arms a short break from the babymomma shuffle.  (Gigi of course, immediately started the Grandmomma shuffle - which is nearly identical to the babymomma shuffle only even more gentle and snuggly).  And there I was standing with my empty arms, trying to remind my body that I could stop swaying, when Violet reached her arms up and whispered, 'hold you me.'

And so, I scooped her up and started another round of the babymomma shuffle.

I've always appreciated when people speak about 'the season of their life', both because it's a beautiful description and also because it acts as a reminder that it is short lived (short being a relative length of time, of course).  Considering the stages of my life as seasons, gives me strength to go on when the going gets tough while also bringing light to my experiences that make them glisten a little more brightly in all their unquestionably finite glory. 

In terms of seasons,  this is the season of my life; of my motherhood, where my arms are perpetually full.  

My arms are mostly full with the weight of our babies.  Our sweet infant Rustin who's favorite place in his whole world is in my arms, head resting on my chest while my heartbeat thump, thump, thumps in his ear.  Our Violet Mary, stuck square between baby and toddler who wants to be held, but not too long - who wants help, but not too much - who wants to be big but also little.  Our Gemma who wants hugs and twirled and movie-start dipped, and snuggled.  She fills my hands with ponytail holders, and nail polish, and baby dolls who need their clothes changed, please. And our Greyson who wants this ball thrown, caught, kicked, passed, and 'can you please find my mitt?' 

If it's not our kids, there are plenty of other things that need my arms' attention; piles upon never ending piles of dirt-stained, (occasionally bodily fluid soaked), wrinkled, mismatched laundry.  Meals that need prepped, cooked, served, and cleaned up, a vacuum that needs run, toys that need picked up, photos that need captured, dogs that need walked, toilets that need scrubbed. 

It can be overwhelming and exhausting.  

Sometimes it feels like my arms are so full that there is no room for anything else.  No room for anything extra; anything that falls outside of the category of  'absolutely necessary to get done today or else' tasks.  My arms feel full with everyone else's stuff - everyone else's needs.  With arms wide full, it feels near impossible to reach around and hug myself; show myself any kindness or reprieve for the everyday march of raising young kids.  I am so accustomed to having full arms, that when they are empty I have a gnawing sense of guilt- what could I be doing right now to take advantage of this moment, what am I supposed to be doing right now with these empty arms!?

But I would be remiss to ignore the fact that with arms wide full, life is also incredibly wonderful.  My mind keeps floating to that Annie Dillard quote that I love so very much ...and what that means for my life, at least in this season: 

Part of my life has been spent, is being spent - holding and loving our babies - the whole weight of their bodies and most of their emotions resting within my arms; filling them up to fullness each and everyday.  

For now, for this season - however long it may last (and please, let it be a long one no matter how much I may take it for granted daily), I will gladly and gratefully live with my arms wide full. 

the four kids

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

the big ones

they are the best of friends, they are the worst of friends.  every other minute this is true with our two big ones.  they are either totally obsessed with each other; following each other around, giggling to the point that you want to smack them both, or sitting so closely together their legs are intertwined.  Or they're screaming at each other, "I don't like that!" mocking each other, tattle-telling, or threatening to never play with each other again.

And the noise these two create.  Sweet baby Jesus, the noise.  There is no phrase I say more often during the day then, "please try to be more quiet."  Their regular voice noise level is set at an eight -so any kind of excitement knocks it up to about a fifteen and puts me at risk of sending me over the edge.  I know, someday it will be quiet, I know.  but

They are polar opposites in almost all ways which brings out the lacking part in each other.  Grey gives Gemma the toughness of both body and mind that she could use.  With him, she competes and doesn't back down, and tries things that she'd never choose to do on her own.  And Gem gives Grey a steady baseline, a more normalized heart rate for both his body and mind.  With her, Grey slows down, plays longer, and practices following rather than leading.


the little ones
My squishy ones; Violet with those cheeks and thighs and Rusty with that baby neck that has so many folds it sends me into near sobs at the thought of it disappearing in the future.  Our two little ones are ever so slowly building their own relationship.  They are together often because of their age, as the big ones are off doing some game of strength and endurance , while they're left behind for less intimidating play.

Right now, in this moment, they are both very needy.  Rusty by default needing me for literally everything, and Violet because she's currently stuck in between baby and toddler at 2 months shy of her second birthday.  She wants to do everything by herself, but can't quite just yet - so it's a neediness that requires endless patience for tasks that take two times as long and messes that are twice as big.  I feel lucky though, in some small way, to still be in this stage of being needed so much.  My arms are still full, always full, with our two little ones that require almost everything from me.  At the end of the day, I am drained of energy and patience and nutrients - but it's been replaced with love and snuggles - and that's plenty payment enough.

the boys
we have brothers!  sometimes I find myself in daydreams of seeing the two of them together as they grow up.  Grey often questions us with how old he'll be when Rusty is so and so age.  Today I told him that he will be eleven when Rusty is six and he smiled when I reminded him that it will be just like him and his cousin right now - and how when she plays with him it is so much fun!

Their relationship right now is mostly comprised of Grey getting right up in Rusty's face and making incredibly annoying sounds and laughing maniacally while Rustin furrows his eyebrows...which probably will be some part of their relationship for the rest of time (hah).  Grey is very helpful though with trying to find solutions when Rusty is crying and asks daily for some time to hold him.  I am so excited, and dare I say a little afraid, to see how these two grow together in all their rough, wild, loud, and wrestling boy ways.

the girls
our girls.  I am so grateful that our girls have a sister.  Of all the things from my childhood that I am thankful for, my sisters are the greatest.  The girls, as it seems in this present moment, are just the right amounts alike and different from each other for a mostly peaceful friendship.  They are already sharing make-up, and shoes, and clothes and whispering to each other between their bed slats before bed.  Hours will pass as they play baby dolls or hair/make-up salon together.  They hold hands and snuggle and read books together.  Granted, they also get into high pitched screaming battles over who gets to have a particular baby doll or purse first - but for the most part, it is a relationship full of twirls and giggles and squeals.

I imagine them through the only lens I have of my relationship with my own sisters and it brings so much happiness and gratitude to my heart.  A lifetime of support and a shoulder to lean into and a person who will catch all their secrets, and wishes, and fears.  I look forward to a motherhood of seeing them exchange a full conversation in a glance - and even though I'm not privy to what that conversation might be unless they decide to include me - I'm content knowing that they have each other.

the skips
Brandon and I have started calling Gemma&Rustin and Greyson&Violet The Skips, because they're the pairings with skipping a kid between them in birth order.  The Skips configuration comes up time and time again because it appears that it's both convenient (one big kid and one little kid) but also The Skips have similar personalities too.

Gemma and Rusty are our current snugglers and slow and steady kids.  Gemma is my little momma and she would be blissfully happy to take over for me when it comes to Rustin.  She daydreams and talks about someday in the future when she'll be a momma and have to feed, change, and carry babies all day.  She snuggles up and reads, sings, and talks sweetly to Rustin any chance she gets.  She's my right hand man all day long and Rusty seems to trust her more than any of the other kids when it comes to holding him.  He relaxes with her and listens to her voice intently.  Gemma needs someone to love and cherish and as the baby of the family, Rusty will need someone to turn to when it feels like everyone is leaving him out and teasing him.  They are just what the other one needed in our family dynamics and I am so glad for that.  These two are our sweet skips.

While Greyson and Violet are our wild skips.  Violet brings something out in Greyson that makes me feel utterly grateful.  He loosens up a little bit and belly laughs at almost everything she does.  But she's tough enough to play rough with him and stares at him with eyes full of admiration that his ego appreciates and craves.  She knows, already at 22 months, that her Booboo will do just about anything she asks - even calling out to him when Brandon and I tell her no.  They play chase, catch, and kick together.  They are similarly athletic, competitive and independent.  Greyson loves to 'baby' Violet and Violet loves to accept his attention and then in the next moment they're pretend fighting or chasing each other; fluctuating between the two extremes of big brother/baby sister - and equals like it's no big deal.  Their little minds seems to buzz on the same frequency and I can't wait to marvel and laugh at their friendship as they grow up together. 

I recently read Mary Louise Parker's Dear Mr. You and one of the lines from one of my favorite letters inside (Dear Future Man Who Loves my Daughter), she wrote about her kids, 

"I want them to take comfort in the fact that they share a mother that is only theirs, and a childhood as wild and special as they are.  I need them to have each other.  It's almost all I need."

Yes, it is almost all I need.

A lifetime of finding selfies of all four them on my camera roll will bring joy to my mother's heart
to know 
that they know 
they always have each other. 

Around Here Twenty-Nine: 07/15-07/21

Friday, July 22, 2016

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  318 hours (of 1000)
Up 21 hours this week (bleh, still short).  We got time outside with time visiting family and friends at their houses, kickball on Sunday night (boo, we had to forfeit this week and Booboo got a chance to pinch kick for Pappy!), family & pup walks back behind the house where we saw the blackberry bushes all bedded down from our resident black bear (!), a swim day with cousin Caleb, and Grey's all-star baseball game last night where he played second base for the first time.  Booboo's team won and Grey caught a flyball which meant ice cream....Violet and Gemma each made a huge mess of their cones; Violet all over herself and Gemma all over Sheila. 

Reading The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain which I'm finding to be such a fun and easy summer read that I can pick up and put down a million times a day without being too crabby about stopping and yet also interesting enough to pick it up when I get five minutes.  Started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to Booboo at night.  He is majorly loving the one-on-one time with me and I am so excited about all the great new vocabulary in it - he keeps stopping and asking clarifying questions like, "wait, what's a cloak?" and we stop to talk about things too like how Dudley was such a brat for complaining about 36 presents, "That's a lot of presents, that kid is crazy and rude!"  (Number 41 on my 100 small things list). 

Missing Brandon last weekend as he and his friends headed down to Austin, Texas for Raul and Maria's wedding.  He had a blast with many of his college teammates and they got in some good eating and laughs.  

Grateful for family and friends who pulled together while Brandon was away to help me and this brood stay sane.  Gigi and Pappy took all three biggest kids to Idlewild for the day on Friday AND THEN had them all sleep over.  Let me tell you what a gift it was to only have one tiny baby at home for a day and a night.  So many to do list items checked off and I definitely went to bed at 9:30p.  It was like a miracle.  On Saturday, after a graduation party stop, the kids and I headed out to Kate's house where she and Michael had set up an outdoor movie viewing on their back porch complete with a pizza and smore party for all the kids.  It was a perfect summer night and I was so grateful to drive home with a Sheila full of snoozing babies! 

Trying out chore charts this week with Grey and Gem.  So far, so great!  It has been nice to have their help around the house and also to see them feel proud to check things off their list and tell Brandon about how they helped when he came home.  They have to finish their daily chores before they get any screen time! And one of Grey's items is to read a book to me (Usborne Very First Reading series) and Gemma's is to practice writing (Usborne wipe-clean Get Ready for School

Astonished how the kids have made progress with swimming this summer.  Grey is a full blown swimmer now even diving from the diving board and swimming all the way to the shallow end - or diving to the bottom of the deep end and pushing off the bottom to come up.  All this from starting the summer hesitant to jump off the diving board with a floatie!?  Gemma this week got the guts to jump of the dive (with her floatie) and she's been swimming underwater with no floaties in the shallow end.  While Violet has zero amounts of fear at all and leaps off the side of the pool and goes right underwater and comes back up smiling.  She even took a leap off the steps this week with no floaties and we all scrambled to grab her back up (she still didn't cry even though she was underwater for a few seconds?!)  We had a long swim day at Gigi and Pappy's with our cousin Caleb - the kids swam for 3 hours straight with varying jumps, dives, and flips - getting braver and braver each time.  Oh, the power of positive peer pressure!

Crossing our fingers about something that could be big.  I'll share soon, hopefully!

Zumba'd for the first time ever with Uch!  It was so fun and we can hardly wait to go again next week already!  Number 14 on my 100 small things list

Wearing Rusty so much in the front carrier this week that my right collarbone started aching last night! He honestly seems to be making (hopefully!) a breaththrough this week and on wednesday gave us a full waketime (about 25 minutes) of contented alertness!  The kids and I were over the moon talking to him and laughing at his sweet expressions.  Eye contact has been so few in these past seven weeks that each time he gives us his attention, we all fall madly in love. 

Enduring a rough week with our Miss Violet Mary.  She has been out of her mind this week with whining, yelling "NO!" directly into my face, and refusing naps until passing out at 6:30p only to wake up 8p and be ready to party until well into the night (not kidding, she didn't fall asleep until 11:45p one night while Brandon and I slept on the couches and she acted a fool in the living room). Her only saving grace is that she's so cute, and still so squishy, and also she randomly shouts to us, "Shake Yo Booty" which makes us all crack up. 

Making this three packet roast in the crockpot which was so, so good and made me incredibly grateful that I had two portions of protein to eat for dinner for my 21 day fix challenge - still going strong! (I bumped up to the Plan C category though after my breastmilk supply started to lessen, all back to normal now though!).  And this Waldorf chicken salad has been making my lunches delightful the past few days.  Brandon grilled up some honey garlic pork chops that were meant to be just for him and I because the kids had already eaten...alas, Grey and Violet got their sneaky little paws on our plates and stole some :)  Greyson became our official Egg Chef!  And for 'What's cookin' Wednesday' the kids made these brownie cookies which they all say are awesome.  I made a smart move and had them make them while I was drinking my chocolate ShakeO and so I didn't have the urge to steal some dough or take any bites!  miracle of miracles! 

Rustin's Baptism

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We celebrated our sweet Rustin James at his baptism two Sundays ago.  The kids had stayed up late the night before at our friends' wedding, so I was up by 5am buzzing around trying to get every possible thing together so that we could let the kids sleep in as long as possible before having to leave for 10am mass.  Grey had a baseball tournament that afternoon, and we had kickball that night, so there was quite a bit of organizing to accomplish.

By some miracle, we all were dressed and loaded in Sheila ON TIME and the only thing left to do was to get the dogs in the house....and Bullet is nowhere to be found.  if it's not the kids, it's the animals - amirite!?

Brandon and I walked the perimeter of our yard (we have an invisible fence) and called out for him for about ten minutes - finally, B spotted Bully sitting in the tall weeds way down towards the fruit trees.  After that debacle, we strolled into mass about 5 minutes late (again.

Immediately after mass, I hustled our little sweetheart into his Baptism gown (formerly Brandon's!) and we snapped a family picture before Grey headed out to his baseball game with Uncle Juice (thank you Uncle J for taking him!)

I was so incredibly touched that we had so many people there to witness our sweet boy's christening.  I sent a little prayer out to my Momma who had to stay home that morning (kidney stones are evil) and who I know was heartbroken she couldn't be there (no worries momma - you were in all our hearts!!)  

The ceremony was beautiful and Rusty did a great job - not a single cry the whole time! Meanwhile, Violet marched about (quietly, but still) the pews smiling and loving that most of her favorite people were there watching like a bonafide audience.  

Rustin's godparents are our dear friends Taryn and Matt (known to our kids as 'Siri & Dobber') We've know T since elementary school and then she and Bud went to college together, where they both met Matt - one of Brandon's basketball teammates.  We are so very grateful that they are in all of our lives, but especially connected to our Rusty's journey.  (thank you and love you). 

After the baptism, we all headed over to Pappy and Gigi's house for a picnic and pool party to continue to celebrate Rusty Man.  It was the perfect day for swimming and sunning and the food was delicious. (Thank you Gigi and Pappy so much for hosting!)  We had all afternoon to hang out with our family and friends chatting while Rustin made his way into just about everyone's arms for some snuggles. 

Greyson made it back in time to swim and play too (they lost their game, boo - but kind of win to be able to celebrate with us!)  The kids all had so much fun playing with their cousins and baby Claire.  It was a wonderful day and as always, a reminder of how grateful we are to be surrounded by people who love us.  

(so many parentheses in this post.  couldn't help myself.  HAH)