Sunday, August 23

A forever changed life...

A few days ago my friend, Amanda, and I took our 7 children and went to our 3rd annual NICU picnic to celebrate our little miracles!! As we walked around and laughed at how much has changed in our lives in the past three years the biggest thing we kept coming back to was that our NICU stays (and specifically the children that stayed in them) have forever changed our lives. Her daughter, Lydia, took her family by surprise and made an early appearance in the world- totally throwing her family for a loop and leaving them completely changed. I think anytime that your life turns out different than you imagined you have a choice to fight against it and become bitter and hard or you can allow yourself to become changed by the situation. I like to think that my precious friend and I have been graciously shown the second option.
I know that there have been plenty of tears and a few little mommy tantrums...even some little fits thrown by this mommy...but because of these two precious girls who turned my life upside down about 3 1/2 years ago I am not the same person I was. I am changed and I am thankful. Every night when I put my twins to bed I pray with them and tell them that they are the best thing that ever happened to me and not a day goes by that I can't say that honestly. I know that these two have brought some of the hardest times and the biggest blessings into my life and I am so glad that I was given the chance to be their mommy!
Elli couldn't wait to hold the "cow bunny" and Macy just loved the one with the pink eyes!

Of course Hailey was the first one to get her face painted...and the rest of the kids waited oddly patiently for their turns!
this picture makes me laugh so hard because Macy asked the lady if she could have a crown and the girl painted a clown on her face and she was so happy with it! this girl just cracks me up. I still don't know if she thought it was a crown, a princess or just loved the attention we all showered on her :)

Our group...all girls and one little Jack thrown in the mix :)
Poor Lydia couldn't find the clown nose that she won, so she missed out on the picture...
 I do think we make up quite a stunning group!! I think Amanda should think about growing a mustache and I'm going to look into finding a giant sombrero to wear...I really think I rocked that thing!
poor Macy and Elli- all we wanted was a cute little picture of them and they kept getting photo bombed by their silly siblings :)

we had to end the night with the bunnies, too! They are, by far, our favorite part of the night each year!!

Wednesday, August 19

Mommy tears

This little boy is headed off to his first day of school soon and, honestly, I'm a mess! I thought it was bad two years ago when Hailey went, but at that point I could still live in blissful ignorance about how hard it would be. I never experienced it so I was sure it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought. This time around I know better. I know the first day might not be so bad but that the second, third and fourth week will be the hardest. I know that he'll be tired and cranky and not want to get up for school. I can't lie to myself or trick myself into thinking he will be fine without me or that he's ready for it. I can't pretend that it'll be easier than I think on either of us...mostly because last night I went to run some errands with Hailey and left him at home and basically had to pry his little fingers off of my neck to hand him over to HIS DAD!! He was sobbing and crying almost uncontrollably over my leaving him with HIS DAD for a few hours! As I walked away I was almost in tears thinking about the days ahead. I fell asleep dreading them and woke up this morning with a pit at the bottom of my stomach. I'm nervous, I'm worried and I'm sad. I don't know what I'm going to do if I have to pry him off of my neck and leave him sobbing at school. It was almost unbearable leaving Hailey at school when she just looked at me with these big eyes and clung to my hand...her crying would have absolutely put me over the edge. 

God give me the courage to drop my little boy off at school. 

Tuesday, August 18

A perfect life...

Before I became a mom I had this idea in my head of what my life would look was very much like a Norman Rockwell painting- if I were honest. I imagined a beautiful family, with smiling children with clean little faces, laughing parents who always looked perfectly put together. Happy meals with us all sitting around the table and quietly sharing about our day- possibly even reading some great and spiritual devotional as we ate our very organic and healthy dinner. Isn't that what we all dream of?? I mean...really, none of us wants to be that dysfunctional family that has food fights and milk spills instead of quiet family meals; who has mac 'n cheese and peanut butter and jelly on white bread more often than any pinterest worthy meal. I have pretty much come to grips with the fact that the only thing even remotely resembling Norman Rockwell type life is our fireplace. There are beautiful moments- sometimes beautiful days. Mostly, though, our family is a bit broken, a bit dysfunctional and a whole lot more like a Picasso painting than anything else, but I have been learning that there is beauty in brokenness and beauty in the crazy and wild. When my perfectly planned days don't end up exactly how I imagined- I'm finding that there can be beauty in the mess that we've all turned in to. When I think my kids are going outside playing in the flowers and they end up in a giant bag of flour in the basement I can be thankful that life around here is never boring. When our cute picture on the giant chair goes wrong at least we have a memory of our monkey like little daughter who can't stop having fun.  When a fun day at the beach turns sour, at least the naughty kids I share it with are pretty cute. When you're shoe shopping at Gander Mountain and your very loud kids decide to deck themselves out in the little stretchy sock nylons you can at least content yourself with the fact that you gave every person in the store something to laugh at.

Even though we haven't had a picture perfect summer. I am sad to see it end. Even though our life isn't what I imagined or what I'd always viewed as "perfect", I'm so thankful that it's mine. I'm so glad that I have this beautiful, crazy, perfectly broken family. I'm glad that we are a family of good forgivers, I'm glad that we are a family that laughs together and cries together. That we can snuggle up and watch movies together and jump on the trampoline together.  Mostly, I'm glad that we are a bit messy and that our life isn't perfect, because if it were too perfect I just might not fit in as well :)