Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So happy...

Lucy wrote a post recently that I really empathized with, as I'm sure most of us can. I have felt overwhelmed for about 5 months now. The first week or two after Aidan was born felt dream-like. I thought to myself several times, "I can do this. It isn't nearly as hard as I feared it would be." We were keeping the house reasonably clean and the kids somewhat under control. We were all blissfully happy about our new little addition, and about having Tanner permanently in our home. I am so grateful for that little calm before the storm. Since then, the house hasn't stayed clean for even 24 hours at a time, and I feel like I'm constantly trying to catch up on something. Laundry and dishes pile up until I'm ready to switch to disposable dishes and send all of our clothes out to be laundered. At times, I'm sure that I'll never feel good about the state of our home again...that I'll never feel satisfied with the attention I've given my kids...I'll never feel like I've had enough sleep to function.

But please keep reading, because this isn't another one of my posts where I tell you about trying to dig myself out of the depths and how hard life is for me (though I admittedly got out my complaints in the first paragraph). I AM HAPPY! Blissfully happy. I feel unbelievably blessed, and spoiled to death most of the time. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • I am head-over-heels in love with my baby! I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Aidan is the happiest little baby. He is constantly smiling, and now he laughs. He makes it impossible for me to be unhappy.

  • I'm trying to set a good example for Tanner. I have always known that a big part of my role as a mother is to model the behaviors I want my kids to learn. It's a lot easier to get lazy about this when the kids are little and you can convince yourself that they're not really paying attention to every little thing. (Not true at all, I know.) But having a 12-year-old son around all the time has made me very aware of my actions. I want to be an example of healthy eating habits, appropriate speech, manners, compassion toward others, I could go on and on. Above all, I want to model a good attitude. I want him to learn that he can decide to be happy, regardless of the circumstances. I want happiness to come naturally for my kids because that's the environment they grew up in.

  • I love my kids. We had trouble having a fourth child, and sometimes I was sure it would never happen. Now I feel so incredibly blessed. There is so much love when you have your first child, and it's amazing how that love multiplies each time you add to your family. I don't feel like a very good mother, but I'm a very grateful one.

  • I have the world's greatest husband. John has been so supportive through all of this. I can't imagine that I would be as patient if the roles were reversed. Who doesn't want to come home to a clean house, a yummy dinner, and have clean laundry when it's needed? And even though he doesn't get much of those things now, he still treats me like a princess. I sometimes wonder if he's building me up so that I'll try to aspire to be the person he believes me to be. I have been pretty much a failure as a wife for months now. He must be able to see how hard I'm trying, or he wouldn't be so good to me. Now, this is going to sound pretty materialistic, but it has to be mentioned. For Christmas, John surprised me with a new van. I had already opened some really awesome presents, and was feeling spoiled rotten, when he tricked me into opening a little box that I thought was a bracelet from Katelyn. It turned out to be a key to my 2009 Town & Country, which was sitting in the driveway with a huge gold bow on it. So now you know that I really am spoiled rotten. But my husband is a genius. Right now, my van is my sanctuary. Carter is in such a naughty stage that I sometimes consider throwing my hands in the air and fleeing motherhood, and Katie is 5, but fully willing to add her own rebellion to the situation far too often. Add a crying baby to that (not too often, but it doesn't take much, and he is teething), and I'm stretched beyond my limits. So I load the kids in the van. I heat up my seat and inhale that smell of new leather. Then I wait for the kids to buckle up and put on their wireless headphones. They choose a show - they can both watch the same thing on 2 screens, or they can each choose their own entertainment. There are 2 DVD players, as well as satellite TV with a choice of Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, or Nickelodeon. I put their viewing choices on the screens, they set the switch on their headphones to the screen they want to watch, and we're off. That's when I get to listen to whatever I want, and I've really fallen in love with satellite radio. (Funny, because I thought it was kind of pointless and unnecessary before having it myself.) Call it escapism, but when we get out of the van, my spirit is rejuvenated and I'm ready to take on more mothering challenges. And the entire time we're out, I feel so spoiled, and so loved. It's amazing what push-button sliding doors can do for a weary soul, especially one that's usually toting a gigantic baby in a car seat.

So now I feel a little embarrassed about bragging up my Christmas present, but I have to give my husband credit for doing something that has made such a huge difference in my daily life. And I want to record my thoughts so that someday I can look back on what a happy time this was, even though it's hectic and crazy. Having 4 kids is kicking my butt, but I'm absolutely loving it!

For the record, I wouldn't even be blogging if I didn't feel better about the state of things in my life. I'm just praying that I can keep things under control so that I can start adding some of my "me" things back into my life (blogging, sewing, playing the piano, etc.). Actually, tonight is my first practice with the German choir I'm considering joining. I hope I can make it work. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

A fun surprise from a thoughtful friend

I was in my little courtyard in front of my house on Saturday, painting base molding for John's basement office, when the mailman brought the mail. Seeing the paint brush in my hand, he asked if he should put the mail in the box. He was holding a few letters and a small package. I thanked him, then set down my brush and ran over to see what the package was. I was so excited to see my name on it, and intrigued at the return address. What was Elise sending me? I opened it up and found this inside:

This adorable wipe holder was handmade by Elise for me and my cute little baby. As you can see, it's perfect in every way. She is very talented! And now I feel so stylish when I pull the wipes out of my bag. So thanks Elise! I have to say that you made my day.

Now, just for fun, here are some pics of the cute little baby who will share my fun gift with me: