Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Saxton

Today is the hardest day that the kids are gone, because today is Saxton's eighth birthday.  I woke up early this morning and started to think about her and the fact that there will be no birthday hugs today and it just broke my heart.  It is hard missing any day with your children, but their birthday is the worst.  Especially if you know me, I love birthdays and try and make a big deal about them.  We were able to celebrate her day at Grandma and Papa's, we even did the night before decorating so she wakes up to balloons and streamers, but today is still hard. 

I think the biggest aspect that makes her birthday so special is the fact that her birth was so scary.  She was born five weeks early due to my having pre-eclamsia.  They were not sure how she would be, but shortly after she was born she showed signs of major destress and they called the NICU to quickly take her.  I still remember how at that point I lost it.  I was such a mess.  They ended up having to intubate her and put her on a ventalator.  When I finally was able to see her, she was covered in tubes and wires.  The feeling of seeing her like that was one of the worst in my life. 

She was in the hospital a little over a week.  Each day she got a little better and I was able to hold her and then nurse her.  I think that was the hardest part, having to wait to do those two things.  I remember the first night they put me in a room with a mom and a her new baby and could hear her nursing the baby and cooing at him.  That was just too much, I wanted so badly to be doing the same thing and at that point I don't think I stopped crying all night.  When finally the time came to get to hold her it was in the middle of the night.  The first nurse I asked said that I would upset her and bother all her tubes and wires.  The head nurse heard this conversation and must have seen the heartache on my face and quickly came over, somewhat scolding her.  Saxton started to fuss at that point and the nurse carefully went through the process to move every thing and place her in my arms.  I will never forget feeling Saxton relax and fall back asleep.  She knew her momma.

So today is hard.  I didn't get to be with and hold Saxton on her "birth"day and it breaks my heart not to be with her today.  I am hopeful to get to talk to her and Skype with her, so I can at least see her today and take a Skype picture.  I know this sounds silly, but to me it will mean the world.  I just want to tell her I love her and miss her and have my sweet Sage give her a hug for me. 

I have been blessed by having several people read and follow my blog.  Some do it quietly and others send me messages of encouragement and friendship.  I blog for me for sure, but I also blog for my children.  I never want them to doubt how much they mean to me.  I stayed in a rocky relationship for a long time in hopes to keep my family together, it took me a long time to figure out that all it did was break us apart.  As I have said, this blog enables me to work through all that and allows me to express my love to my family, friends and my very sweet littles.

So today is rough, but it is also a celebration of my Saxton.  She is a beautiful and smiling soul.  Jerry and I often talk about how agreeable she is, kind and always full of smiles.  He told me the other day he misses her greeting him at his truck when he gets home from work, she hardly waits until his motor is off before popping up to say a smiley hello in his window.  Her heart is filled with gold and goodness.  I remember the night before we left there was a storm.  She came in the room and was standing by the bed.  I was just finished feeding Max and so I put him in his crib and told her to climb into bed with me.  I snuggled with her while the storm blew the power out.  We listened to the thunder and the rain and smiled in the dark, we weren't scared, we had eachother. 

As the summer drags on, parents begin to lose their patience with the fighting and activites and begin to count the days until their kids go back to school.  If you are one of those parents, I remember those days, but today think of Saxton and I.  Think of me and how I will be counting the days for a different reason.  I will instead be counting the days until my littles come home and their beautiful noise fills the house again, and I have 24 more to go...

Happy Birthday Saxton!  I love you, miss you and thank God for you everyday!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The book, the chapters of a non-existent parenting class.

What is being a good parent?  It's funny and I am sure you have heard this before, that you need a license to drive, you need to be 21 to drink, but you need nothing to become a parent.  You need to go to school for years to be a doctor or a lawyer, but being a parent requires no classes, no schooling.  It's ironic that my own father went to school for his undergrad and law degree at one of the top Universities in the country, Notre Dame.  He is one of the smartest people I know, a human Google, yet he doesn't talk to any of his five children.  I hold no grudge, I forgive him every day for not speaking to my sisters, brother and I, I have to, but I still question his mindset.

Doctors are limited in the number of hours they can work, and rightfully so.  After all, who would want someone who has been working three days straight to do their surgery?  However mothers and fathers may go days, weeks without proper sleep and yet they are expected to function day in and day out, be the best parent they can be.  They are expected to make life changing decisions, choices, all under the veil of exhaustion.

I had my first four children in a matter of five years.  My first, Savannah turned five on May 5th, on July 30th I gave birth to my fourth child.  A month after Saxton was born I turned 27.  I celebrated that day by cleaning my tile floor with my sister Kathleen.  She questioned my choice do so, I told her that it was a gift that she was there to help.  My ex was at a work retreat making choices that would continue to set the stage for the demise of our relationship, I was home scrubbing grout.  I was home being a parent to a newborn, one year old, three year old and five year old.  I was exhausted, clueless as to what was happening to me.  I hadn't had my time off, my breaks that would allow me the clarity to see what was going on right in front of my eyes.

My ex did not get up with our four children.  I did.  This was my choice.  My choice to nurse my babies and wake up with them every two to three hours for months, years.  No one made me do this.  No one gave me a test to see if I could hack nursing all of my babies for a year or more.  I chose this.  I know women who pump and have their husbands feed their babies bottles.  I didn't know this was an option, I didn't learn this option in my "learn-as-you-go parenting University."

Right now my ex and I are faced with a huge parenting choice.  He was "laid off" a few months ago.  He has been interviewing all over the country and has traveled to and looked at houses all over.  The kids have been privy to this and have wondered where they are moving.  Are they moving to NC, SD, Iowa, Wisconsin?  Are they moving to Seattle because dad told them that he was interviewing there?  They hoped they were moving there.  My sister used the analogy of a man dating several different women and saying that they all could be mommy, you don't bring home or promise just anyone, you promise the prospect that is real.  Their mommy does live in the Seattle area, their two little sisters, of course they want to move there.  He would have learned that in parenting class, but he didn't.

I would have learned that you need to pick your partner well.  I didn't.  Neither did my mom.  This is tough medicine.  The questions that come out of my babies mouth are tough.  Why, when, how, what happened?  Most of these questions are not four their ears, their souls.  Finding out that happily ever after might really just be a fairy tale is not an option for a nine year old.  A roof over your head is supposed to be a castle, not a shelter.  So I continue to try and answer questions fairly, appropriately, and only let them know what they can handle. 

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  Why did I choose to move here?  Why did I get divorced?  I chose to get divorced because I was not living the vows that I stood in front of God and repeated.  Love was not patient, kind in our house.  Our house became scary and unhealthy.  My life was no fairy tale and not a story that I wanted my girls to read and repeat.  No way.  I read that story already.  I watched my mom struggle and my dad dissolve in front of my eyes.  I was not going to continue that story with my own children.  No way! 

Have you heard of the flight or fight response?  That is where I was at.  I could have chosen to stay and fight, or continued to fight would be be accurate or I could choose to flee and attempt to bring peace to all of our lives.  That is what I chose.  It is amazing.  No adult has since gotten in my face and yelled at me.  No screaming or shouting in our house.  I remember the silence that fell over the apartment that the girls and I lived in when we first moved here.  Some of it was a sad silence because we were missing Savannah and Sam, but some of it was a peaceful silence.  I imagine it must be the silence that falls at the end of a war, or battle.  It felt that way.  I finally had a calm that surrounded me that enabled me to lick my wounds and assess the damage. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I said good-bye to the kids four days ago, but it feels like much longer than that.  I have been able to talk to them, although it sounds like my ex is not too happy about that.  What he doesn't realize is that they are still little, Saxton is just short of eight and Sage is nine and they are used to being with their mom.  I remember when I was their age I had a hard time going for an overnight, let alone being away from my mom for five weeks.  It is an eternity for me, I imagine it is hard for them as well.

Slowly but surely I have been puting the house back together.  Like I wrote in a previous post, I knew this day would come and it is here.  Instead of running the dishwasher twice a day, now it is once twice a week.  The laundry isn't going around the clock and the sheets are in the same spot they were left almost three weeks ago.  I still can't make their beds because I like that the last time they were used was from them.  I am sad because Sam really sad he liked the new sheets he got on his new bed.  I told him he could bring home his pillow and pillow case and in the hustle and bustle of leaving, we forgot.  Now I wonder if he wants me to send it to him.

Savannah's bed is the hardest.  I have been able to shut the other two bedroom doors and go in occassionally, but she shared a room with Max so I see her bed all the time.  And it makes me sad that she is not sleeping in it.  Jerry told me to give it a few days, don't go in their rooms if it makes me really sad.  He also took the day off on Wednesday and ended up taking me out of the house for several hours so I wouldn't be so sad everytime I walked into an empty room.  He understands how I miss them and wants to make it better.

We hardly ever eat out when the kids are here because we really try to feed them a homecooked (mostly by Jerry) meal and leave plenty of time for homework, ect... but we have eaten out the last few nights.  Getting out of the house has been good for me.  Brayden has been with his mom, so it has just been Max and us.  It's funny how quiet dinner is even with an eleven month old when you are used to having five older siblings along.  I remember going to IHOP with the kids shortly before we left.  We had gone to Chamber's one last time and it was late when we left so we decided on breakfast for dinner.  The kids were so cute, entertaining themselves and Max.  Now I believe he looks for them, wondering where they all went.

Jerry has been wonderful and patient.  He knows the hardest thing in the world for me is to be apart from the kids.  Last night we went for a date.  We had Kate come watch Max and we went down to the waterfront to Katy Downs, a 21 and over restraunt.  Our dinner was awesome and we had a relaxing evening.  However, he didn't say a word when Sage called and my attention turned to her, he even joined along in our conversation.   I know he misses them too.

I was talking with an old friend today who is also recently divorced.  She has a new friend in her life and she started explaining about it... I told her I understood.  I too have a history and story that on paper to those who don't know me looks questionable.  But for those who do know me, who know what I have been through and am still going through, they don't question or judge.  How could I stand to be apart from my littles? I can't.  I miss them every minute of every day.  I can't wash their sheets or make their bed because I don't want to lose that weird connection with them.  But I know that because of the choices I made that when they come home it will be to a happy mom.  They will come home to love and patience and a constant hum of stability.  They'll come home to a tearful mom who will be hugging them so hard and telling them she missed them... until then... I'm waiting. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My love, my life, my family.

The silence is deafening.  I knew it would be.  Jerry and Max are asleep, it is just after 6 am here, but my body thinks it is after 8.  That is not the problem though, it is the fact that there are five empty beds and no littles to fill them.  I went through their rooms again today, their sheets still all messy like they left them (we left super early for the airport) and I think it will be some time before I change that.  I came downstairs where there are still dishes left in the sink from our last meal before vacation.  Shoes are dropped, everything is almost paused as if we were all going to come back and pick up where we left off, but we are not.  They are not here and I can't sleep.

One thing I noticed  while we were gone was that I slept when I was in Minnesota.  Even though I had a stupid cough and some allergy issues, I slept soundly.  Before I would go to bed I would kiss the kids again and then go lay with Savannah for a few minutes.  She stayed up with us at night and went to bed when we did.  The second to last night before we left I was laying with her holding her hand.  She fell asleep and I started to cry... I knew how much I was going to miss her.  It was palpable, I could almost feel it in the room.  I knew this day would come where I would miss them all so much.

The crazy thing is it doesn't help right now that we had so a phenomenal time.  I know that sounds nuts, but it makes it harder.  There were no moments when I looked forward to them leaving.  No big fights or outburst when I wished them gone.  I wanted them there every single second.  I tried to squeeze enjoyment out of every single moment.  This is not to say they were perfect the whole time, that would be a lie that not one parent reading this blog would believe, but what is true is that I loved every moment, even if they were cranky ones.

Jerry's mom hugged me yesterday and said, "I hope you had a good time."  I hugged her back and quickly thought of what to say to her to express that I had an unforgettable time, a taste of heaven.  How could I thank her and Jerry's Dad and Jerry himself for giving me these days with my babies.  How do you repay such a gift.  I don't think I can. 

I was a kid again at the lake.  I played!  I had so much fun just playing with my kids.  Jerry commented about my enjoyment of tubing with them.  My smile on my face, how he could hear me joyfully screaming.  I did, scream... and laugh and sing with the kids.  I loved how for a moment life stood still.  We would all look at each other and smile as we skidded across the water.  I tried so hard to take mental pictures, snapshots that I could replay in times like this, when I missed them desperately.  I told Savannah and Sam that I wanted to bottle up the lake.  take it home with me so I could open it up and relive these moments.  It seemed possible then.  Now I just want them.

Savannah and I and sometimes all the kids would sing when we tubed.  We would belt out songs like "A whole new world," from Aladdin... "don't you dare close your eyes," and it is amazing now how appropriate that song was.  Jerry took the kids and I on a magic carpet ride to a place called "The Lake" and allowed us to live in a Disney movie for fifteen days.  He gave me a gift.  He and his parents.

Grandma and Papa spoiled us.  Jerry's mom loves to cook and she is an amazing one at that.  Fresh banana muffins, fried Chicken, homemade cakes (like the one she made for Jerry's and then Saxton and Max's birthday parties), homemade beans and pizza rolls (that the neighbor's fight over.)  Her and Papa made Beef Teriyaki for Jerry's Party and Prime Rib for Saxton and Max's party.  I could go on and on but it wouldn't do any of it justice.  The food and the love put into that food was amazing.  We all gained a little weight for sure, but especially Max, who's favorite place to eat was on Grandma's or Pap's lap. Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Papa is a wood artist.  He can build and create just about anything.  When we arrived there were boats and cars, a plane, helicopter and even a train for the kids to paint for Max's birthday.  Sam spent over two days working on a car with Papa, they made it from scratch.  Papa even taught Sam how to work the Puzzle machine and the sander.  We had a lot of fun in Papa's workshop making  and painting stuff.  On Saturday Jerry took Saxton to the store so Savannah and Sage and I could make Saxton a sign for her birthday.  It read, "Two Peas in a Pod."  Sage and Papa had cut out a heart on Friday while Jerry, Savannah, Sam and I ran to the store for a few last minute presents and decorations.  Savannah helped me with the lettering and Sage did too.  I used the dremel to carve out the words and then we painted it green.  It turned out really cute and I think I love it as much as she does because I know the love that went into it.  Thank you Papa for sharing your wood shop/garage.  Thank you! Thank you!  I hope the kids did a good job cleaning it up :)

Another thing we did like crazy was swim.  I loved it, they loved it!  There were weeds off the dock.  We didn't care.  Actually I was a little leery the first time, but then my little fish, Ms. Sage swam with me and told me to pretend we were fish and we were swimming in our home... that really helped and I was good from then on.  We sang songs to the tune of jingle bells about the weeds.  We would peer at them with our noses in the water and our eyes just above and look for fish or creatures that might be swimming below.  We plucked weeds and tried to see how long they were or made weed wreaths on our heads.  And if you swam far enough the weeds gave way to deeper water and that's where we would dive and swim under the water and pop up on another unexpectedly. One person who was super nervous of the weeds was Brayden, but I am proud to announce on the last night, he jumped in and swam in the weeds!!! We would take the boat out to swim, sometimes parking it with the neighbors for hours.  We would just sit in the water and hang out, enjoying a hot day in cool water.  I think the Zack Brown Band says it best, "I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand Life is good today. Life is good today...." 

One of our other favorite water activities was taking a Minnesota bath.  This requires that you wash your hair in the lake.  Jerry, the kids and I all partook, several times.  Sometimes we would jump off the boat and sometimes in more shallow water.  Jerry's Aunt's place is really clear, so we really didn't have to worry about weeds, but we bathed at his parents beach as well.  I even quandered  the idea of not showering the whole time I was at the lake... that didn't happen, but I bathed in the lake more than the shower... so that was something. 

Puppy, our dog, came with us.  And other than a few accidents and some scared birds, squirrels and birds it was awesome having her there.  She loved it!   The lake the wonderful critters to chase, being with all of the kids and us.  We took her with us boating and tubing (she watched) and swimming.  She had her own many Minnesota baths, one after she rubbed her face in the most disgusting smelling yuck.  We later realized she was trying to get a tick off her head.  Savannah helped us hold her while Jerry burned it off.  But she is part of the family and was spoiled as well.  We brought home a ton of dog food because she, like the rest of us was absolutly spoiled by grandma's cooking.  Don't let her fool you and say she doesn't like dogs, she loves Puppy.  And Puppy loves her and Papa.  One funny story, Puppy came inside clean, but a little wet and jumped on the couch next to Papa.  I was horrified and told her to get off... but Papa told her different, to stay right there next to him.  He didn't care that she was a little wet, he wanted to sit with his friend on the couch.

Max had his first lake experience (out of the belly home) and I believe he loved it.  He was spoiled with love.  I don't know many babies who are loved like Max is.  Not just by one or two of the kids, but all of them!  They think he is just "so tute (cute)" as Sage says.  Between Grandma, Papa, Jerry, the kids and I, Max wanted for nothing and learned everything he could.  Savannah taught him to high five, Grandma and Papa taught him "So Big" just before we left and all the kids taught him to wave good-bye.  Sometimes when we took the kids tubing he would stay behind with Jerry's parents.  On one of these occasions they watched as he figured out how to use a pillow to climb on the coffee table.  They were so proud.  Another sweet thing to watch was when we brought him swimming.  They loved to play with him and watch him enjoy the water.  It was awesome and I am thankful.  Thankful that he is loved like he is and that our family is brought together by love and a little Max.

Speaking of boys, one cool thing happened with our two oldest the night before we left.  After tubing Jerry took Sam, Brayden and I out so I could try wake boarding again and he could try knee boarding.  I did get up and had an awesome ride around the lake.  Sam was so cute and so proud of me.  He took a video and in it you could see his thumbs up sign.  I love him.  But the best part was when he tried knee boarding.  He smiled.  Not just part of the time, the whole time.  If you know Sam you know he can have a bit of a fiery temper, but none of that this time.  He listened to Jerry's instructions and each time he fell, he smiled and listened to what Jerry had to say to do better the next time.  And he got up!  It was awesome and I was so proud of him for not giving up.  Maybe it was because he saw me wipe out a boat load on the day I learned to wake board or maybe it was his own inner will that wanted to accomplish this.  Whatever it was, he didn't give up and he smiled!!!  And what was also cool was the support that Jerry and Brayden also gave him.  Their praise and patience made all the difference I believe.  And when Brayden had his first trial run, that support continued.  Both can't wait for next year! 

And last but not certainly not least... Jerry and I got engaged!  This is a whole other blog(s) in itself... but I am happy and excited to announce we are getting married!  He proposed to me in the most romantic fashon on a boat out on the lake in the middle of the night on the 5th of July and I said Yes!  We took the kids out to the same spot and told them and they were very excited which made us even happier.  Saxton said the cutest thing, that now she could call Brayden her brother.  I have to say I love this man.  He is wonderful and loves not only me, but my babies.  Yesterday when the kids left I just lost it and when he understood and cried with me I knew that I had found one of the good ones. 

Too be continued...

Two happy old posts....

Written on the night of July 12th

We have a week left at the lake... and I hate how fast it is going, but I love how wonderful it has been.  The weather has been wonderful and we have been able to get out on the lake and in the lake everyday.  In face I think the kids have tubed at least once a day since we have been here.  I even tubed.  This was a bit of a learning experience for my littles... they were trying to school me on the art of tubing, so I showed them.  I let go of both handles and rode on my knees no handed!  Sam looked at me with such surprise and wondered how I had learned to do such a thing, I looked at him and told him I was 34 and knew a thing or two.  ha ha!  Tonight I did have a moment, in between my screams of terror as I tubed with the kids, I looked at all of them smiling and the sun setting and I was so content.  I just wanted to freeze the moment and remember it forever.  Jerry topped it off by taking us all for ice-cream at Ron's and then me and the five elders rode the tubes home, jumped off and swam in... screaming for terror again because of the weeds.

The kids have been having a blast.  I call our visit here being at Camp Richard.  They get to swim and play in the water, work out in Papa's workshop, swim at Aunt Toni's, Watching Modern Family with Savannah and sometimes Sam when the kiddos go to bed, Going for drives, walks and a ton of good food.  Jerry celebrated his 40th birthday on the 7th so his mom made homemade Fettuccini Alfredo and a Baked Alaska for his cake.  The neighbors and some family came and we embarrassed him with candles and singing.  We actually sang to him twice, we sang to him at 12:01 the night before when we were hanging at the neighbors, they even gave him a piece of funeral cake. 

On Saturday we had another party.  Beef Teryaki (sp) and meatballs and homemade Pizza Rolls that all the kids made on Wednesday.  The food is rediculous!  We are so spoiled.  And so were the kids by the neighbors... They were here all last week until Sunday and so there was someone tubing almost all day.  On Saturday Jerry and I took the Pontune out and watched the kids tubing.  Then the girls and I went swimming out in the middle of the lake.  I was missing my suit, so I improvised with what I had ;)  Last summer I was big and pregnant and not able to swim very much, so this summer I have made up for it.  The kids and I have been swimming fools.  On Sunday we swam out the to the middle of our little bay, yesterday we swam forever at Aunt Toni's, it was windy so a lot of fun. (I even swam out to the bouy in the middle of the lake and back... did I say that we were loving the swimming?

Written July 14th

Whew!  I think we are all beat!  This has been quite a ride.  Today was the first rainy day we have had, so we went to ND and it was a lot of fun just hanging out, all ten of us.  The kiddos were pretty good and we found some goodies... We hit Sams, Scheels (a huge sporting goods store where the kids like to ride the indoor ferris wheel) and Target. (Grandma and Papa live an hour from all of these places, so they have to take advantage when they are in town.)   However, I have to say our best finds were at St. Vincent De Paul... Savannah found ten shirst for a dollar each!  In fact everyone but Jerry and Papa found something, for example, Sam found some killer Scooby-Doo silk PJ pants, whoo-hoo! 

When we got home it was breezy, grey and drizzling, but we have been on the boat and the kids have tubed every single day, so we had to keep our streak alive.  So the kids and I (minus Max who stayed with Dad and Grandma and Papa) went swimming to prove we could handle the cold air/water to go tubing.  Sam and I swam through the weeks to the middle of the bay and laughed and sang silly songs.  Then we went tubing... it was a short run, but we went.  Unfortunatly Savannah and Saxton took a rough spill and we decided to head in.  Otherwise it was all smiles and giggles.

I think that tubing has been my favorite activity to do/watch while we are here.  Yesterday the kids went a long stretch without a fall and Jerry and I were commenting how fun it was to watch them have fun.  We both just love to see them smiling and enjoying their time here.  I think I am happiest when the kids are happy.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The fourth of July: Traveling to Natures Fireworks.

Written July 4th

A lady on the plane walked by and her t-shirt read, “Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?”  I chuckled to myself… Jerry and I could relate.  The stewardess had already spoken to us several times because the kids were disrupting the people in front of them.  However, in their defense, it would have helped if they had just turned around and told them to stop kicking their seat instead of tattling, I hate tattlers. 

After two days of packing, doing laundry and cleaning our trip started off with a bang.  Our neighbor drove us in his Party Bus to the airport.  Last night when he brought it over to load it up you would have thought that Sam hit the lottery he was so excited.  We left the house at 4:15 am, but instead of a sleepy ride, all the kids were fascinated by the disco lights and drinks hidden in the seats. 

As we pulled up at the airport, which was quite busy for such an early hour, we felt like rock stars.  Everyone was staring at us.  I quickly learned though that they might be staring at us not because we were stars, but that six kids, two adults, an enormous amount of “carry on” baggage and a dog came out.  I quoted the words carry on because I thought we would beat the system of paying for bags by only checking two and bringing on the rest… so multiply 2 by 8 plus a stroller and car seat and that was what our security line looked like.  I absolutely pity those who wound up behind us at the x-ray machine, we took forever! 

By the time we checked our few bags, got Puppy all settled and through security we didn’t have much time to get to our gate, go potty and grab a snack.  This was a little amusing to me because we got to the airport almost two and a half hours early.  I did accomplish one helpful task; I was able to score another seat so that we could put Max in his car seat instead of on my lap.  I always panic that he will fly from may arms during take off or landing.  This extra seat however opened up a new can of worms, where was everyone going to sit. 

We settled on Savannah and Sam getting the solo seats in front and behind our row, Max had to be by a window, me, Jerry and on the other side Sage, Saxton and Brayden.  All was going okay (after the traffic jam we created by putting up our one hundred bags cleared) and then Sage had a complete panic attack at the thought of not being by the window.  Jerry solved this by switching her and Brayden, simple enough? No, because he had his heart set on the window so now he had a sour attitude.  We couldn’t win.  And neither could the people in front of us because they caught the brunt of our decision and Brayden’s feet. 

Savannah and Sam were quiet for most of the flight, watching movies and listening to music and through some miracle Max fell asleep in his seat before take off, so that left us with the other three littles.  The funny part is I had a pipe dream that Jerry and I could catch some Zs. Ha! It was a flight filled with police work and food catering.  Oh and several bathroom trips including a false alarm poopy diaper.  Man does my son have smelly gas!  (On a side note, he has now produced the real thing I think because I smell a constant whiff coming from the seat behind me, but he is sleeping and so are the rest of the kids so we aren’t going to pull over just yet...especially if I am wrong and it is just another false alarm.) 

The good news is that we landed and after the stewardesses shoved us off the plane without a hint of, “Have a good day” or “Happy Forth” we caused another traffic jam while unloading, gathering our stuff, stroller and many children.  We then caught a glimpse of Grandma and Papa, a true sight for sore eyes.  They had come in two vehicles to collect us.  God bless them and the day of driving they endured to gather us up.  To save money they drove both of their cars four hours to pick us up and then had the return trip as well.  And not only did they do that, they came bearing gifts, home made muffins and breads and coolers filled with drinks and bags of snacks!  Thank you! 

Happily we all made it, including our bags and Puppy.  The bad news (for a moment) was Sage was temporally misplaced when she snuck away to return the cart.  We found her no problem, I had only a slight panic attack and she said she knew where she was the whole time.  And now we are off, kids are finally settled down and sleeping or resting...
Written Today... 
The fourth was awesome.  It was so wonderful just getting to the lake.  We started our trip off with a bang by getting a tubing session in and Saxton catching her first fish, (last year the poor thing did not catch a single one.)  We were are pretty tired and decided to not travel to any fireworks, especially since mother nature was starting her own and a storm was rolling in.  Plus the kids were super excited just to be at the lake and most of them were fishing. 
The storm did roll in and our firework show viewing moved to the covered patio down below.  After we got the kids in bed, (they were exhausted) Savannah, Jerry and I continued to watch the storm blow in.  And did she blow... the night when from a dead calm to gale force winds.  The lightning show was fabulous.  We got so nervous a few times we ran from the porch to inside the house.  It was awesome!  Nature truly did provide us with some of her own fireworks.
I am so happy to be here.  I will post again with some big news and more details of our trip... but being here is like visiting heaven for two weeks out of the year.  I love the time with the kids and being able to see them smile and laugh.  Jerry and I are able to relax and have time to unwind and re-connect.  It is amazing that just a year ago I was pregnant and we were learning to become a family.  This year we are a family, Max is here, the kids are so much more adjusted and loving just being together and enjoying life at the lake. 

Max's First Fourth of July!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Kiss good-night Sam... kiss good-night.

It was love at first sight on the day Sam was born.  I remember it like it was yesterday, holding this tiny little person in my arms and knowing my life and my heart would never be the same.  From the moment Sam was born he was special.  He was a wonderful baby, a snuggle-bug.  And as even as a little one he was sensitive.  I remember when I was pregnant with Sage, he wasn't yet two and he was still aware that I was a bit fragile and he loved to kiss and rub my belly.

Sam and Saxton in 2004
He is quirky, neat and takes care of his things.  When he was four I have a picture of his bed.  He had just received some new shorts, socks and shoes and for days he left them neatly folded and placed at the foot of his bed.  Even now he makes his bed here.  He has a place for everything and likes his things just so.  Brayden and him share a room and I have been impressed at how well the two have gotten along.  Brayden respects his stuff and Sam loves that.

When Sage was born, and then Saxton he was always such a sweet big brother.  He loves babies.  It is so sweet to see him with Max now.  (Actually right now he is having a very colorful conversation with his little brother... it is very cute.)  I love his sensitive side, his big heart.  He is never one to shy away from a hug or a kiss.  He likes his space but he loves to be loved and to love back. 

When Sam was five I found this book, "Kiss Good-night" and the little bears name in the book is Sam.  I used to read this book to him every night.  The whole premise is the mother bear realizing that all her little bear wants and needs is a kiss good-night.  Sam is my little bear.  I found the book online and bought it for him this past Christmas and read it to him with tears in my eyes.  My little five year old is now eleven, but he still loves for me to kiss him, "Once, twice, and then twice more," like the book says.  No matter what, he will always be my little boy and I will be his momma and we will always need each-other.

Tonight I watched him run around outside with the neighbors, he was so excited because they were letting off BIG fireworks (they were really big!)  All the other littles were in bed already, somehow sleeping through the noise (the dog was under the bed... scared out of her poor little mind by the noise.)  Anyway, I let him stay up so he could have one last hurrah with his friends before we headed on vacation.  He kissed me and said thank you and love you mom.  I am so happy to see him happy.  My sweet sweet Sam, mom loves you too!

My attempted Diary of Days...

I had hoped to write every day... ha!  But here are some little snip its of what I have written, not super exciting... but these past days with all of the kids here have been some of the happiest of my life.  I am content, my heart is full and happy, all my babies are here.

Written June 21st...

Saturday the 18th was soccer day and then parents night out!  The weather wasn't too great and we had to rush from one game to another, but we were able to see some of all three games.  Saturday night was 40's night.  Our neighbor through a surprise party for his wife and invited all the just 40 and will be 40s along.  It was awesome!  We took a limo to a boat in Seattle where he had rented the whole top floor.  He provided dinner, drinks, desert and dancing!  It was awesome and a very romantic date.  After the boat cruise we went dancing some more.  It was a treat to have some couple time and the kids had fun as well.  We hired our sitter Kate to help with Max and the little kids.  Savannah and Sam liked her a lot and had fun hanging out with her after the littles were in bed. 

Sunday was father's day.  For those of you with a blended family, Mother's and Father's Day can be tricky.  But it takes a village to raise your children and Both my ex's live-in girlfriend and Jerry play a parental role.  The special thing about Jerry is that he doesn't have to be, but he is kind and wonderful to my kids.  He participates in their lives... and he spent father's day at Wild Waves watching them smile and laugh as they rode rides.  They repayed the favor by being angels at dinner. 

Written June 23rd... late.

I am tuckered out... It is a happy tired... but tired all the same.  My mom and dad flew in last night and we had a full day in Seattle today.  We went to the Market and took the tram to the Seattle Center.  The kids found and played in a very cool fountain.  I had a "moment."  I was watching them laugh and play and my parents were sitting there with me enjoying their smiles.  I had this rush of emotions come over me and then I finally put my finger on it, I was content.  I was and am happy.  The day wasn't perfect, I got super lost coming home from Seattle, I had attempted to go along the coastline and ended up and a nameless town.  We found home eventually, however it involved blasting music at top notes to make a miserable Max happy.  He is normally a beautiful baby in the car, but today was his exception, and he did eventually quiet, two blocks from the house.

Time is flying.  I knew it would.  I know that September will be here before I know it.  Max will turn one, I will turn 35 in just a blink of an eye.  Having the kiddos home has caused the days to just vanish.  We have been so busy. 

Written June 29th at the Seattle Science Center...

The kids are in the Planetarium exhibit with Kendra.  Max and I couldn't go in... so I am left alone with my thoughts for a few minutes.  I miss them already.  We leave early for MN on Monday and I am starting to panic at the idea of only a few days left here and not getting to do all we wanted to.  Don't get me wrong, I love the lake and I know the kids will have a blast, it's just one step closer to having the girls gone for five weeks and Savannah and Sam possibly much longer.  I walked around outside a bit where my parents and I were withe the kids last Thursday.  It's overcast and windy today and the weather matched my emotions.  I remembered watching the kids the week before playing in the fountain, not today, too cold. 

Written July 1st...

We are at Wild Waves.  It is our third visit here since Savannah and Sam have been here. We went on Father's Day and then on the 21st, the kids first day out of school, I brought them here to celebrate!  Jerry bought us season passes and along with those came several guest passes, so we have been able to bring Savannah and Sam for free.  (I LOVE my coupons!!!)  Today we have an addition, Brenton, Savannah's friend from Colorado.  The time is just flying by and I know it's because we've been so busy.  Last Wednesday night, the 22nd my parents came.  Thursday we went to Seattle, that was a lot of fun.  It was a beautiful day.  Friday we had a garage sale and went for a walk at Chamber's Bay.  Saturday we went to Whidbey Island.  Sunday it was off to the Taste of Tacoma and then Dave, Kendra and Tyler came for dinner.  I was super sad to see them off on Monday.

The kids were so cute today.  I loved watching them all play in the pool.  Sam was even helping Brayden to swim.  Now Max is asleep on me in his pouch.  It has been a long day for him.  He swam for almost an hour with the big kids in the wave pool.  They are so cute with him.  Savannah and Sam kept wanting to hold him. 

Written Tonight...

It is amazing at how happy and content I am having all of the kids here.  Savannah and I talked about it the other day.  She was telling me how happy she was and that she understood what it meant to be here.  Today I watched all of them play at Chamber's Bay.  They were so cute and it made me smile to see them laugh and play.  It is almost as if there is a healing power here... there is just love and it is so strong you can't help but feel it.