Monday, April 29, 2013

a long season

Parenting is all about seasons. Its always shifting, an ebb and flow, quicker than we'd like it to. Nothing is constant. Besides change. Change is constant. Some seasons are easier than others and you soak those in with vigor because you know they won't hang around for long. I knew when Channing really started to move, things would be harder. It's just a fact. Babies on the move make more messes and require nearly constant attention. I was slightly dreading it and here we are, living it, whether I like it or not. Add to the crawling, teething, mess-making baby a spirited three-year-old who often wakes up in the middle of the night and gets up at about 6:15 every day and a very active five-year-old. So this is an exhausting season for us. There's no nice way to say it. Jon and I are constantly exhausted. I am utterly and completely spent at the end of every. single. day. Some days I feel good about all that expended energy. Maybe we had a great adventure outside or went to the library or laughed a lot. But a lot of days I don't. A lot of days are grouchy, crabby, cranky, crying days and those are beyond exhausting. Those are the ones you need 12 hours of sleep to recover from but of course that never happens so you wake up the next day with about half the energy you need to face it and do the best you can. This sums up those days:

(I think this print is a lot cuter with coffee but, alas, I'm a tea drinker, so this is my truth.)

Channing is the worst teether in the history of teething babies. (At least, in the history of my teething babies.) His come in so slowly. Dawson seemed to get a few in at once. He's gotten sick with every single tooth, with a terrible cold. He's had a horrible runny nose and slight cough for about two weeks now. So he's just super cranky at home. And when Dawson woke him up from his nap yesterday afternoon, I was absolutely losing it inside. Like, I was ripping all my hair out and screaming and punching somebody in the face. Luckily for whomever I was standing next to, I held it together.
Jon and I needed to get away from our children spend time alone so we hired a babysitter and went on a date last night. I was super tired and was thinking I'd like to hire a babysitter so I can just go lock myself in my room with a pint of ice cream for the rest of the evening. But of course, it was so worth it. I should be thankful my husband even wanted to go on a date with me after the way I'd treated him for a few days. I think I'm generally fairly easy to live with and our fights, if you can even call them that, are very few and far between. But for a few days of the month (every month) I'm a pain. Start those days off completely lacking sleep and I'm just downright nasty. I need to start warning him to plan his work trips around those days!! :)  But he's quick to forgive. And we always have fun with each other when we're out alone. Always. He's my bestie. 

Are there many things sweeter than finding your boys together, 
reading a book? Me thinketh not.
 And I find this little lump looking at books on his own a couple times a day now! 
He loves this cheesy puppy book the most. 
(Confession: staged photo. I dragged him and his book over into the light for this one):

It dawned on me this morning, as I was mulling over these last few rough weeks we've had, that my mother-in-law has been out of town and hasn't been able to take the boys for the past three Fridays in a row. It is amazing how much that one seven-hour day a week to do whatever I want (whenever I want) completely rejuvenates and refreshes me. She is such a blessing to me (and my other sisters-in-law) for all of the time she pours into her grand-kids and the breaks she gives us. My mom used to do the same thing when they lived here (sheesh, I was spoiled!!) but they moved away two years ago. I'd love to have even another few hours kid-free but its very hard to find someone to exchange kiddos with. I mean, you sort of have to have the same number of kids for it to be fair, and let's face it: two kids aren't always equal. So someone might get the short end of the stick on the deal, and then what? 
Let's hear it. Do you have an arrangement with anybody to trade kids? Any good experiences, or bad? Please share. 
I honestly don't know how to get through these days without a lot of breaks. And a lot of caffeine and Jesus.

Friday, April 19, 2013

everything you ever need to know about me (and more)

I read this post on The Anderson Crew and this post on Words of Williams the other day. I love posts like this from bloggers and it got me thinking what I would want you to know about me.

* I hate black coffee, wine and beer (even though all five members of my immediate family do). *
* I drink a cup of Red Rose tea every morning with milk and sugar. According to my English MIL and her mom and auntie, it's the best English Breakfast tea. I agree. *
*My favorite drink is chai lattes, though. Pacific Chai is the best brand (Wal Mart). If I get one at Starbucks, I ask for a 1/2 pump white mocha in it. *

* I am a serious bookworm. I am always reading a book and start another one the same day I finish one. I feel like I'm missing a limb if I don't have a book going. I usually only read a little bit at night before I fall asleep (or a lot bit, if it's a particularly good one). But I also cannot sit down at the table to eat when I'm by myself (or...TMI...sit down on the potty for business that takes more than 10 seconds) without something to read. I can't do it. * 
* I feel instantly connected to someone if they're a big reader, like me. *
* I love grammar and spelling and still beat myself up for losing a spelling bee in 8th grade with the word poisonous. So dumb. I get a little spark of pleasure when I find an error in any published material. * 

* I broke my leg in 7th grade skiing and wore a cast for 5 months. It was the worst pain I've experienced, far beyond childbirth. I broke my foot in 11th grade and didn't think for a second I'd actually broken it. I didn't even call my mom until a few hours later when it swelled up about three times the size and was turning strange colors. Not all broken bones are equal. * 
* I'm an adrenaline junkie and there's not much I won't do (besides snow skiing. I haven't been since and I'll never go again). I think scuba diving is the coolest thing in the world. Hang-gliding is at the very top of my bucket list * 
* I'd love to get my pilot's license someday. *

* I love removing the lint from the dryer trap and peeling hard boiled eggs. *
* I love filling out forms. * 
* I eat my food in a specific order and I don't like it to touch. * 
* I hate getting my hands wet or messy. Jon makes fun of me if I get something on one of my fingers, I just wash that finger. *

* I lived in four different states and one province by the time I was 15. I've lived in Iowa for about 15 years but still wouldn't consider myself an Iowan. *
* I don't want to move our kids around. * 
* When we moved from Georgia to Canada in 2nd grade, my mom asked me if I wanted to go by my middle name, Elisabeth, instead. I strongly considered it. *
* Most of the time I like having a different name. Its a good conversation starter. It makes it easy online to choose a user name. But whenever I'm at a restaurant or coffee shop where they ask for your name, I use a fake one. * 

* I hate dancing. I'm too self-conscious for it. * 

* I have a debilitating fear of moths and other large flying bugs. I would interrupt a funeral if there was one flying towards my head. * 

* I think I'm a good mom for wild boys. * 
* I am the opposite of a helicopter parent. I am a sniper parent, watching from a distance, waiting to pull the trigger. No, that's not quite right. Whatever the opposite of a hoverer is. I have had to call in security to find my runaway children no fewer than six times so far (Ok, one of those was my mother-in-law). My heart doesn't even beat fast until they've been gone for 10 minutes. If we were wildebeests or antelopes, they would have been eaten by lions a long time ago. Thank goodness we're not. Dawson had to wear a kid tracking device in our backyard last year because he would leave the yard every time and not answer when I'd yell for him. I had a newborn, so cut me some slack :) And we don't live on a busy road. I know, that doesn't make it any less ridiculous. *
* I'm not a worrier. ( if the previous information didn't tell you that loud and clear!) I let my boys climb high, run far, explore anything and I watch and wait when they get hurt. They have yet to have any stitches or broken bones. I've gotten really good at ignoring the judgmental looks of other helicopter moms watching my boys in shock as they jump off the roof of something or another. *
* I love adventure. My dad did a great job of instilling that into all four of us kids. His favorite saying is, "risks are for kids". He'd push us a little past our comfort zone until that became our comfort zone. I love going new places and trying new things and I want my boys to love it too. *

* I am an introvert to the nth degree. I love being alone. I've always only had one or two close friends at a time (which has been in constant rotation over the years due to moving around.) I force myself to be outgoing but am quite shy by nature. I hate calling people on the phone. I'll stay upstairs if a stranger (or distant acquaintance) comes to the door and Jon's around to answer it. Same thing if I see an acquaintance at the store. I'll go to great lengths to make sure they don't see me. I hate small talk and am terrible at it. * 
* Jon's an introvert too, but is extremely outgoing (and doesn't really comprehend my shyness in the least!). He just internalizes everything and gets drained when he has to talk too much. When we drive somewhere together, we're silent almost the whole time. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We work well together. * 

 * I am a slob. My husband is a neatfreak. I only clean for him (and company). *
* But if you look in any closet, cupboard or drawer, they're relatively neat. I love to organize and used to refold my friends' sweaters in college. *
* I'm super slow and meticulous. (Like, crazy slow). It takes me forever when I clean because I have to do it so thoroughly. I'm also very easily distracted. This is why I never clean, and don't get very far when I do. * 
* I'm messy but I hate messes. I'm talking sticky, dirty, muddy, slimy messes. I hate when my kids get covered in food. I hate play-doh. I don't mind them playing in the mud if I'm prepared for it. But if they get in the mud wearing normal clothes, it drives me crazy. Seeing someone's 18 month old feeding themselves yogurt without a bib gives me anxiety. Ew. I can't handle it. *

* My love language is words of affirmation, followed closely by gifts. I love to show love in these ways. I love picking out gifts for people and I'm a big commenter on FB and blogs. It seems normal to me and I like to be encouraging because I know how much people's words mean to me. I could probably guess which of my friends also need words of affirmation based on who's comments I regularly get on here ;) *
* My husband's love language is sex and cookies (in that order) *
* After 10 years, he's getting a lot better at meeting my needs even though its a stretch for him! *

So what do I need to know about you? If you do a post like this, let me know in the comments! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A good old fashioned meltdown

I don't know why but I always find it slightly humorous to watch other children utterly and completely losing it. Is it a little sick of me to admit that? Maybe. I think it just makes my kids seem so normal (because I do question their normalcy on most days). So, if you too get a little satisfaction from other kid's ya go. If it stresses you out rather than makes you laugh, I don't recommend watching...unless you're drinking a glass of wine or something. They don't call it the witching hour for nothing. (And I apologize for the sideways video. Jon makes fun of me for doing that all the time. I always forget it won't switch directions on a computer.)
My parenting skills kind of go out the window while shooting video of my children. So I assure you this was all dealt with in a responsible, loving and patient manner when I turned off the camera.
Oh, and P.S. My brilliant stocking stuffer gift of a vibrating light-up toothbrush has been used for everything besides it's intended use. Like whacking brothers' heads.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring tease

I'm pretty sure its the most redundant thing ever to say, we are ready for warmer weather. I would venture to guess that's been typed 230,974,326 times by Midwesterners and Northerners in the last two months. So I will spare you my sentiments on this so called "spring season". And I try to keep the perspective that in January, I would have been celebrating 40 degrees. So let's just all be thankful for the day the Lord has made, whether it be warm and sunny (and inviting and lovely and cheery and fabulous) or cold and dreary.
We did have one glorious 70 degree day last week. What a mood booster that was! I took the littles out on a morning walk (after going back inside and changing from jeans to shorts. I can never believe it til I feel it.) Kind of made me want to shout from the rooftops. SHORTS, people! I'm in SHORTS! Halle-flippin-lujah.

I used to walk with Bennett as a baby all.the.time. Life was so easy then because whenever he was fussy, we just loaded up the stroller and went walking. I haven't walked nearly as much since he's gotten older and I've had two more kids. Its very difficult to take an enjoyable walk with all three. Dawson hates when Bennett runs or rides past him. Hates it. Screams at him and starts crying every time. I don't even know what to do other than to wait for him to outgrow it (or be able to beat him in a foot race). But just walking with Dawson and Channing right now is wonderful and so enjoyable. Dawson loves his scooter and Channing's still super happy just sitting and watching.
Busted out the flip-flops. Our toes were so happy:
I love accessories on kids. Hats, sunglasses...I guess that's the extent of it for boys. Unless you count superhero gear. Makes me smile.

I just love this little boy's imagination. He loves packing up his Gruffalo bag. I think there were lollipops in there along with the empty paper towel roll and probably a couple plastic animals. I should do a blog post of just him in all his crazy getups over the years: 
And one more from my phone. Happy feet:

Monday, April 1, 2013


Our Easter was very sweet. Sweet boys in fancy clothes, sweet baby animals at church, sweet babies, a sweet time reading the Easter story out of the boys' new Jesus Storybook Bible and lots and lots of sweet candy. The boys found their Easter baskets and opened them before we were even awake. I'm hiding them next year. I hate missing their faces when they open stuff. 
We made it to the 9:00 service at church...wait for it...ON TIME. But we were still stuck waaaay in the back because it was a packed house.

Bennett sang one song but they were poorly mic'd and weren't really singing much of it so it was quite anti-climactic. Oh well. Our church has the best Easter Sunday morning for the kiddos. Between services they have a big brunch and they bring all kinds of baby animals to touch. Its pretty much the cutest thing ever. But alas, I got NO pictures of it this year because we left the camera in the car in our haste, it was very chilly outside and we were doing our best to keep it short and sweet before Dawson got overwhelmed and out of control. (see last year's animals here) So we went back inside, let the kiddos decorate a cupcake and then went to Nana and Poppy's. 
Dawson getting the job done with Dad. And Bennett, taking his sweet 'ol time (yes, he's his mother's son):
A little down time before everyone else got home from their churches:

We didn't get a family picture this year. I decided it just wasn't worth the stress of making them pose again. 
It was so funny, as each family arrived it was, "Quick, take our picture, before everyone falls apart!" Bria and Aaron and Aben sat down for theirs and Dawson walks right up there and poses with them. This kid cracks me up. So we obliged him and took one :) Look at that face!
And then these three come in and sit down for their picture like it's their job!! I mean, come on, look at those perfect smiles! So evidently picture time isn't stressful for every family.
 All eight grandkids:
Some-bunny refused to nap:
But he was still sweet all day. Can I say this enough? It still blows me away to have a baby this age who will sit happily in one spot for more than a few minutes. I can't wrap my mind around it. He sat in his booster and chowed down on all the brunch food for at least half an hour, maybe more. He literally didn't make a peep the whole time. And then later he was playing in one spot, totally content for 30 or 45 minutes. Thank you, Lord, for agreeing that I could not handle anymore wild little monkeys!
Waiting to start the easter egg hunt. Bennett's got his eye on the prize:
And they're off.

Bennett takes these things quite seriously, can you tell? And Dawson was just overwhelmed and started crying because he was left behind:

 But we helped him. And he found his best buddy:
Talking through the Easter story with Resurrection eggs. The big kids had fun with this. Not too old yet before it becomes cheesy :)
 And Nana got her baby fix for the week with Grayson:
It was a great day, and fairly relaxing, which isn't always the case for a Colyer family gathering ;)  We're getting a better handle on how to help Dawson stay happy and in control (I'll blog about that later) and all the kiddos had lots of fun together. Bedtime that night was another story for the middle one. One too many pieces of candy?? Holy, moly. Today we are hiding the Easter baskets!