Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our family's perfect match

Today the kiddos and I got to go spend the morning and most the afternoon with our cousins. These cousins are quite special to us not only because we love them but also because they are our perfect match. That probably sounds weird but it is true. Our boys are the same age (3 weeks apart) and our girls are the same age (2 days apart.) This coincidence is such a blessing because there is always someone struggling with the same baby/toddler issues as me at the same time and it makes me feel not so alone in the craziness of mommyhood. (Thanks Stef for being a real mom too! =)) Usually Jack and Rylan play pretty good together with the occasional tattle or stolen toy but today both boys were little toots! At one point they were driving around in Rylan's really cool jeep power-wheels thing and both were just bawling their eyes out the entire time. Who knows why? Not even sure they knew. Yet neither wanted to get out. Crazy boys. I hope the girls aren't quite as emotional. Yeah right! But it was so nice to watch the boys exert all that energy on each other instead of on us mommies.
Plus getting a chance to have girl talk (even if it is interrupted 5 billion times) is definitely worth the constant threats of timeout. Stef and I started discussing the girls birthday parties which will back to back, of course. It is crazy that my baby girl is now 9 months old and in just a matter of a few months she will be the big 1! I'm excited about her party though and getting her a big tutu and having a girly theme (thinking Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party.) Yes, I know, she will not even remember it but I will so I plan to go just as crazy as I want. It's the joy of being the mommy.
Anyways, after several emotional breakdowns we decided to pack up the kids and head to Chik-fil-a. Let me just say that I feel so sorry for those very sweet people that work there. I know Addie probably dropped an entire box's worth of cheerios under the table and Jack killed the pretty flowers on our table and the one next to it. Sorry Chik-fil-a, just be grateful Jack didn't pee inside the playground area this time. =) I know I am. But I love Chik-fil-a because the kids can go play away from us in that miraculous soundproof room while us mommies can pretend to have a semi-grownup lunch. It's a treat for the kids and the mommies. Can't go wrong there! We decided to call it a day after the 800th meltdown and because we had been there for almost 2 hours! (Like I said, it's a treat for mommies!) I pulled into our driveway and saw that both kids were completely zonked out in their car seats. I managed to snap a couple pictures and get them both in bed without either waking. Ohhhh sweet little blessings!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Playing in the Rain

Today I experienced perfection, at least my new idea of perfection. For some reason I feel this great desire to be perfect or at least good at so many many things. Maybe all moms or women feel this, I don't know but for me it has become quite obvious that I just can't do it. I have finally realized I am unable to keep my house spotless or even just tidy, my kids just might go a few days without a bath (does swimming count as a bath?), my car will always be messy (actually found a bannana peel today), sometimes we eat the same thing three days in a row, I will never look like a supermodel, I let Jack watch way too much TV and Addie eat way too many cheerios off the floor, and it doesn't matter how many times I clean my closet, it will be a disaster by the end of the week. What a relief to finally figure all this out! I can finally stop pretending. I know I wasn't fooling anyone but myself so I'm a little embarrassed about the charade, but oh well. This is me.
So today I pulled my hair in a ponytail, packed the kids in the car and left our messy house to go to the park to meet up with one of my very best friends and her three boys. It sprinkled on the windshield the whole way there but didn't start to really rain until an hour after we arrived. Maybe before I would have been concerned about my makeup running or hair frizzing (which it did) but today we just got soaking wet in that beautiful summer rain. Watching Jack play with his friends while I got to visit with a truly genuine friend felt like perfection. There was nothing spectacular about the event (if you can even call it an event) it just was right and real. For me there is not much happiness found in all the stuff I thought I had to own or the roles I had to play or lists I had to check off, but today there was an overflowing of joy and peace in the simplicity of playing in the rain. I kind of think that maybe God sent this rain just for me. Who knows? ;)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's funny now...

This past weekend we took a quick two-day trip to Turner Falls in Oklahoma. Even though it doesn't seem like the most exciting vacation ever, we were pretty excited about playing in waterfalls and just spending some downtime together as a family. Little did we know that there is no downtime when you vacation with kids. We actually got out of the house Thursday morning one minute earlier than we had scheduled which is an absolute miracle. We saw this as a great start to a great vacation and just knew that luck was on our side. HA! Practically the whole way there Addie cried as Jack covered his hears and yelled over her, "Addie keeps crying, Addie keeps crying, Addie keeps crying!"

We survived the drive of eternal hearing loss and arrived at Turner Falls on time only to discover that the cabin we rented was not available to us for another hour so we decided to go into the great town of Davis to grab a bite to eat. After driving all way through the town we concluded that we had three options...Subway, Pizza Hut, or Terri's Fried Catfish. We opted for Subway and returned to our now available cabin. Now let me just stop here and explain something...Levi had been to Turner Falls as a kid and he had told me the awesome stories about how amazing and beautiful it was there. So I naturally had these images in my head of this cool log cabin surrounded by this gorgeous landscape of waterfalls and rivers. Not exactly...our cabin was one of 8 and they were all so close together that you could barely park a car between them. They were between the stinky dumpster and the nastiest part of the very brown clouded river. The entire park was so crowded, there was trash everywhere and more than half of the people there needed to put on more clothes. But whatever, what mattered was we were on vacation as a family. So we put on our swimsuits and set out in search of waterfalls. After about an hour of playing in the water Jack starts whining that he is ready to go home and he wants to play his Wii games. This whining did not stop so eventually we had to threaten to spank him if he said the word "games" again. But the day ended up being a lot of fun. We played in the water for several hours and then hiked to an awesome cave that evening.

For dinner we cooked hotdogs on a campfire (yes it was really hot and almost unbearable) and made smores. Jack thought the fire was pretty cool but didn't care for the smores too much. That night we all rested peacefully in our beds dreaming about the fun we were going to have the next day when sometime well past midnight two stupid teenage boys somehow managed to unlock our cabin door and open it!!!! They thought it was pretty funny so they slammed it shut and opened it again. Of course, this woke Addie up and because this awesome cabin was only one room and shared a wall with the cabin next to us, we could not let her cry herself back to sleep. So I spent the rest of my night waking up every 5 seconds to make sure Addie hadn't fallen off the bed or I hadn't smothered her because I put her in bed with me while Levi crawled into bed with Jack and was snoring in less than a minute.

Morning came way too soon which wasn't so bad because there is always the silver lining of coffee. We went hiking and found a really beautiful part of the river that we played in the rest of the morning.

At noon we packed up and headed out to Arbuckle Wilderness. We paid close to $50 to drive through the "wildlife park" and see lots and lots of cows, ducks, goats, deer, turtles, donkeys and llamas. There were a few zebras and giraffes there too but not many. But despite the park's lack of interesting animals we had such a good time because we laughed so hard. Levi rolled a llama's lip up in the window and almost ran over another one while trying to get away, Addie spilled all the animal food all in our car, Jack was so freaked out by the ostriches that he refused to sit in the front seat and I almost got my hand bitten off by a zebra. Good times.

We said goodbye to Arbuckle Wilderness and headed home. The drive home was probably the most relaxing part of the whole trip because the kids finally slept (the entire time) and Levi and I got a chance to hold hands and laugh about our not so perfect family vacation.