School has started and we are adjusting to the new schedule.  James has fallen asleep the last few days after getting home from school because it’s non-stop fun all morning for him at Young Fives.  We miss him each day, but to say he loves it would be a gross understatement.  

Which leads me to my next point… you may know that we are currently staying with family until our place becomes vacated at the end of September.  Or, so the plan went.  There are a lot of things coming to our attention recently that may turn all of our plans upside down in order to keep James at his current school on and the education timeline we feel is best for him (he has a summer birthday and we want him to start kindergarten next year instead of right now…hence, young fives.)  Things just seem to be a lot more difficult here than they would be in Utah.  I don’t need to go into detail, but as I am advocating for my child I am feeling more stress and anxiety and crying more about the future than ever before.  It is so difficult for me to be in a situation where other variables that shouldn’t feel entitled to butt in on my parenting are practically forcing me to do things against my will for my son.  

And I know people think, “It’s just kindergarten, are you seriously kidding me right now?  Who cares if he goes now or next year?”  Well, we do.  And at this point, with the information we have, we feel like it’s worth throwing all of our current plans into the wind and completely pivoting in a different direction. It’ll mean a higher rent for a smaller place that we haven’t even found yet, it’ll mean leaving our ward (church congregation) and starting out fresh in a new one, it might even mean I have to find some sort of real job.  But I feel like our babies are at a stage now where we can’t just drag them around where we want to go, we have to start making big decisions (like where to live) based on their needs and best interests.  This is the most adult I have ever felt, and I am flipping terrified.  I’m having a hard time deciphering between divine impressions (which I fully believe in and rely upon) and what I want (and may be blinded by) and keep going back and forth with pros and cons that don’t seem to be making a case for either side.  This all means I am not sleeping at night, am breaking out and getting a tad chubbier than I was last month.  All to be stuck in the same place without knowing which direction is forward.  I just need to remember that what’s most important is who I get to take with me wherever we end up.  We can do hard things together.  We can live anywhere as long as we are all under the same roof.  As long as we are together, we can make anything work as long as we work.

Back to School Festival 2016-2017

James started school today so we had our annual back to school festival last night!  I make a big feast of specially-requested food, we introduce a scripture theme for the year, the boys get father’s blessings and of course they get a new fancy hat!  Even though James is the only one starting school we make sure to include all the babies and make it a big family affair.  James requested elbow mac and cheese and meatballs and after his first bite he exclaimed, “I thought it would taste better…”.  Can’t win them all, I guess.  Charlie snarfed it all, though.

Aaaaaaaaand then the bees came.  James has some ptsd about bees (he’s been stung a lot before) so we moved the party inside.  I was bummed to leave the cute set up I had worked on, but you can really see the fear in James’ face up there.  And don’t worry, I asked him if I could put this picture online:).

Bee shield.

Our theme for the year, picked by John!  I don’t have my desktop with Photoshop on it right now so I had to free hand it.  I’m no calligrapher, but it’ll do.

Unappetizing pictures of our spread.

James picked out these ready-to-bake Michelangelo sugar cookies, hahaha.  They weren’t half bad, actually!

These three are such joys!!

This one turns one next week.  WHAT.

James was blessed to develop bravery and be a true friend.

Charlie was blessed to know how important he is in our family.

Auggie was blessed to grow healthy and strong.

I love these boys and I love building unity through traditions like this.  They may not appreciate it fully right now but I know the efforts aren’t wasted.  At least they know we do stuff together, that’s just our thing.  I know they’ll eventually live for stuff like this.  And then they’ll become teenagers….

silver lining

If you’d asked me last week how we were faring after having left our little paradise of Stanford Family Housing I would have probably broken down and started crying.  That’s not to say we aren’t being very well taken care of right now.  We are so blessed to have amazingly supportive and generous family in the area who have taken us in for a few months until our new place becomes vacant at the end of September.  They have not only opened their gorgeous home to us, but they have also agreed to put up with our noise levels and cluttering talents.  

But, oh, how amazing it was to live at Escondido Village on Stanford Campus.  There is no place like it on the earth.  It is safe, communal, perfect for little children, the easiest place to make friends from all over the world (both for kids and adults), so comfortable, so easy to connect with people on a daily basis….. it felt more like home than anywhere we’ve ever lived in our marriage.  And we just miss it.

But little did I know that leaving Escondido Village would be the very thing that would heal the pain of having to leave it.

Now that we aren’t surrounded by little kids all day long, James and Charlie’s friendship has exploded in all the best ways!  They have been getting along so well and have the brothership I would wish for them and their little hearts.  Their love for each other is the silver lining of having to leave our piece of heaven and our friends.  It has helped me have a better attitude about being semi-homeless right now, it has helped me get closure with our time at Stanford and it has given me the peace I need in moving forward into the unknown with our little family.  Yes they are still so loud and still such naughty little boys, but they do it all hand in hand now instead of against each other.  And yes I miss the adult connections that were so easily available at our last place, but now I am blessed with the need to be deliberate and intentional in all my relationships.  So change is scary, of course, but it works itself out if you keep pushing forward with the ones you love and love you.  And love each other, thankfully!

2016 Headshot Project: July

A headshot and update of each of our babies each month of the year 2016.

I know this picture is a tad blurry but HOW COULD I NOT. This baby, you guys.  This baby is LIIIIIIIIIIIFE.  You can’t really tell in this photo but his hair has this amazing wave and bounce to it and when his hair is perfectly dirty enough he has megga CURLZ.  CURLZ, PEOPLE! He is also just eating all sorts of food.  If you know me well, you know that choking is my biggest fear as a mother, so all of my babies have gotten a later start on the finger foods (which, I know, doesn’t help them…).  But Auggie has been doing great with the finger foods and hasn’t not absolutely loved everything he has ever put in his mouth.  His favorites are scrambled eggs, asparagus spears, pasta, and of course cheerios.  He double fists everything and would make anyone believe I never feed him by the way he devours it all.  He also is going strong with the nursing and is quite the little talent at staying latched through all sorts of acrobatic tricks and positions.  He also smiles his biggest for Dad and bangs his head rocker-style when he’s extra happy.  He recently turned 11 months old and just needs to stop that.

Sweet little Chooch.  And by sweet I mean sweet and salty and bossy and angelic and sassy and humble and so innocent and hilarious and my forever baby boy. He’s showing a lot of potential in the potty training department but we aren’t pushing it since we will be moving again in a few months and don’t want to deal with regression.  Once we are settled in our new place we will go all in.  He’s also really cute a giving thumbs up in his own little way.  He has hitchhiker thumbs like me and instead of sticking his whole thumb in the air he will keep the thumb closed flat on his fist and just stick up the little hitchhiker thumb tip part.  I can’t quite explain it, but it’s adorable.  He also says “actually”  aaaaallllllll the time and I hope he never stops.  But of all the things he’s cute at and good at, his greatest talent is completely ignoring us when it pleases him.

James turned the big 0-5 at the end of July and it was such a fun celebration!  You guys, I have a five year old, what the what!  And I will say that he is definitely the coolest five year old I’ve ever met.  While he remains the single loudest force in my life, he is just hilarious.  My favorite thing he said this month came after Charlie went “poopins” on the potty for the first time: “We are the luckiest family ever! I’m so glad Jesus made Charlie!”  He sure knows how to be a cheerleader for his brothers, in case there was any question about that.  I’m working on balancing not expecting too much from him and answering the call I feel in my heart to teach him of a higher plane of living.  He is so good and true and kind and loves nothing more than Jesus and his family.  In fact, whenever anyone says something along the lines of “You’re the best!” he always corrects them, “No, Jesus is the best.”  He’s even cried before when a friend insisted that he was the best and not Jesus.  He’s learning to pray really hard and have faith when he needs courage and it’s just about the most fulfilling thing of my life to eavesdrop on him teaching Charlie about loving Jesus.  Don’t get me wrong, James is still a five-year-old and we have some social things we need to work on (that school will no doubt help with) but in so many ways this kid shows his mature soul and I’m excited to see his social skills mature to match it eventually.  Needless to say, this kid teaches me every day.