Tuesday, January 31, 2012

(Day 31) Gaining Hindsight and treading water

My kids are asleep, but I am too hungry to sleep, so I thought I would write some very prominent thoughts I have been having lately while I ate a late lunch.
I feel like all I have been talking about lately is how busy we are. How crazy it is, and how I never have time. Probably because that is true, and I am blown away by how crazy busy our life is. And compared to what our life used to be before the kiddos, it is so much more busy! The other day, I was thinking about this and a memory came crashing down on me, and I gained 20/20 hindsight. It was quite an "ah-ha" moment that really stunned me and changed my perspective on something.
But first, it's story time.
Richard and I were married in 2005 and for the first year, we worked for my Dad. That year is another story for another time, so I will skip to the beginning for 2007. 
2007: Richards plan had been to take over my Dad's financial advising business when he retired and because of the "in", he wouldn't have to go to school. But after a not-so-pleasant working experience (having nothing to do with my Dad, I should add, but another fellow employee...), he decided he didn't want to be without the safety net that an education gives you these days. So within days of deciding this, we packed up everything and headed off to a 4 year university hundreds of miles away. We were so excited to be on our own and experience college, as well as follow the strong promptings we had.
The night we left with (most of) my fam
All during 2007 we worked hard going to school full-time. We lived, ate and breathed school but got very good grades. It was a wonderful time in our married life because we had the same major, all the same classes and were together 24/7. Incredibly spoiled if you ask me. We loved it. 
2008: Then 2008 came, and I was ready to plow through my degree again that year and work at the same time as I had been the year before, so I could get done sooner. But then Richard and I had a very specific prompting. We were to enjoy this year together, and just...play. So utterly confused, we decided to follow the prompting, and we left for a semester to work with some friends in Southern California. Before starting the job, we went on a 4-night Mexican cruise to reward ourselves for our hard work the year before. It was amazing! Then we went to work with our friends, finished that and then went to stay in Washington for awhile to spend time with family.

While we lived in So. Cal 
On our mexican cruise

Those months playing together were so fun. After that, we came back to our home at school and finished the year off with another semester of school.
2009: At the beginning of 2009, I felt very strongly that I needed to change my major or do anything I could to finish my degree as soon as possible. I only had 3 more semesters left of my degree, but felt that was too long. After some work, I re-arranged my degree so that I could be done in 1 semester. That last semester ended in the middle of April of 2009 and in the first week of May, we found out why I was supposed to graduate so fast. It was time to add to our family. So, exactly (like exactly to the day we stopped birth control haha) 9 months later, Liam was born. And then to fast forward a lot more, Richard soon after, felt very strongly he should switch his career plans to the medical field. 
So to summarize a lot more and save from writing too much, here has been the last 2 years in a (very small) nutshell:
April-July 2010: Richard starts the pre-med program with lots of hard classes and is gone so much that I am basically a single mom 
August-September 2010: We take the break in the middle of semesters and travel to see family
November 2010: Richard goes to Honduras for a service project for 2 weeks (which will look good on his podiatry school applications) and I go with Liam to stay with my family.
December 2010: As soon as he comes back, we get pregnant with #2 when Liam was 9 months old...
January-April 2011: Richard has another crazy semester in school while I am stuck at home during a horrible winter, morning sick with a less than 1-year-old who is constantly sick himself with some kind of horrible sickness (croup, RSV, pre-bronchitis, you name it). Or teething. Basically never slept and was sick myself that whole time.
April-July 2011: Richard is in his craziest semester yet (people who heard his work load thought he was crazy and committing academic suicide...he was so blessed to finish with some of the highest grades in his class). I went from being 5-8 months pregnant and by the end hurt so bad, I could hardly move. I was a single mom, ridiculously pregnant, trying to chase a 1 year-old around...
September-December 2011: Another semester as a school-induced single mom with a newborn and an 18-month old. Crazy stuff.
December 2011: Richard studies like a madman for the MCAT and is gone for a week for an interview leaving me completely alone
January 2011: Another semester starts, continues studying like a madman for the MACT, takes the MCAT and is currently gone again for a week.
This is why I feel like I have been treading water for 2 years.
Do I really need to say it? It's been crazy.

Ok now that you have way too much information on our last several years the background story. Here is where the hindsight comes in. So in 2008, like you read, we felt very strongly we should enjoy the time we had together. As I sit here, without a husband for yet another week, with 2 kids under 2, hardly ever seeing him, I see the wisdom. I can see so clearly why we felt so strongly we should do what we did in 2008. Because we needed that foundation. We needed all those years with just the 2 of us to support us through these years when we hardly ever see each other (and I am not joking). That prompting was very confusing when we received it, and I honestly questioned it. But now I am so thankful for several things:
1. An all-knowing, gracious God who knew we would need that time together
2. That we are able to receive personal revelation
3. A husband that supports me in the things I feel I should do
4. That time we had together. It was wonderful.

So although I feel and say all the time that I am SO busy and have been treading water for the past 2 years, it's cause I have been, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's been crazy, but on so many numerous occasions, I have felt very strongly, this is exactly what we should be doing and where we should be. 

Life isn't supposed to be easy. If it was, where would the growing and the lessons come from?
I think a lot of time, we expect that life is supposed to be easy, and when it isn't and it's hard, busy and crazy, we feel like something is wrong. That we aren't doing something right. I have a strong knowledge, that is not what life is about. I have become so much more of a real person during this time of "busy-ness" and I can see the wisdom in it. 
my 2 kiddos playing this morning
I love her huge smile...wish it wasn't out of focus...
So while I am here in this time of my life, treading water, I have gained hindsight.
Perfect 20/20 vision.
I see why we felt the way we did, because now I am reaping the blessings from the time we had of that (relative) ease.
Have any of you had moments of 20/20 hindsight, where it all made sense?

p.s. sorry this was so long...it was supposed to be 2 different posts, but I had a great opportunity to finally write and wasn't 
sure if I would get another chance again in the next while!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

(Day 29) Sleep tight

I have a serious weakness for 2-piece jammy sets for kids.
I think they are so dang cute on my two littles!
And I put Brielle in her first set of them tonight and almost nibbled on her fat thighs! 
Chilling in brothers crib while I got him ready for bed
we have a newly found binky fan in the house!
Not a lot happened today, just the same old! But it was a good day and that is nice. 
I love me a good, normal-nothing-special day with my 2 darlings. 
Liam was his normal good boy, Brielle took long naps and I got things done without feeling really overwhelmed!
Well, off to bed for me!
Sleep tight.

Friday, January 27, 2012

(Day 27) Just me. And nothing else.

The other day, I realized my blog was turning into nothing else except pictures and written blobs about my kids. I wouldn't have it any other way, but I was trying to think of something I could write about me. I couldn't think of anything. Not a single thing. Red flags started waving, and I realized, as I had been warned not to let happen, I was completely losing myself to my 2 kids. A good thing, but it can be dangerous when there is nothing to you except being a mom. A person needs their own identity. So today I decided to write about me as as my own person. So I am going to write about some of my favorite things. And challenge myself to not talk about my kids or hubby. Now the question is: Can I do it?! Let's see...

--The moment (yes it's just a moment in this house...) when you finish cleaning, organizing the house and get to sit down and enjoy it.
--Cooking a yummy meal that hits the spot
--Any type of fruit juice
--Writing my feelings down and the release as soon as they are out
--Dancing my butt off like a tacky Latin dancer Exercising at Zumba
--Laying in bed after a hard, taxing day
--Looking at the clock and realizing I was able to sleep for more than a couple hours
--Clean, folded laundry
--Taking a hot shower during the winter
--Going out to dinner
--Spontaneously deciding to do something fun
--Laughing so hard I start becoming hysterical
--Funny movies (like the edited version of Bridesmaids. LOVE it)
--Inspiring drama movies (love Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Big Fish)
--Looking into the camera and finding a beautiful shot that captures raw emotion
--Listening to good music, loud.
--Imagining my future when all this work pays off
--Dreaming of my dream house that I will have one day
--Getting all dressed and dolled up
--Feeling on top of the world when things are going my way
--Driving in the car with loud music blaring
--Cute clothes that fit just right
--Getting my hair done
--When the spirit confirms that what you heard is truth
--Those little, insignificant moments when you feel life is absolutely perfect
--When you feel like heaven is close and your Savior is giving you a hug of "you can do this"
--Knowing where I am going and where I came from
--The reassurance that if my worst nightmare happened, we are a forever family.
--Being in the temple and feeling complete happiness
--Being creative
--Listening to a favorite song
--Hearing rain on a tin roof
--Inspirational quotes or stories
--Tragic stories that make me grateful for what I have
--Creating and reliving inside jokes
--Pet names
--Hanging out with friends and feeling like a kid again
--Burts Bees chapstick
--Watching episodes of my favorite TV show
--Fresh, crisp apple
...and if I could add my favorite things about my kids and hubby this list would be 4 times longer...

When my toddler won't eat,
When the baby won't sleep,
When I am feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things, 
and then I don't feel so bad.

excuse the nastiness--this is me today after a long day with the kiddos
...I did it!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

(Day 26) 'Twas the night before the MCAT...

'Twas the night before the MCAT, when gone from our house
Was our precious Daddy and mommys special spouse.
He studied so much and took great care
To know all his stuff and left nothing to spare.

Now we dear children are nestled all snug in our beds
And praying he sleeps well and is properly fed.
Although mama misses him, she is very proud of him
And wants him to know, she knows he will win.
We love you Daddy!

Playing with blocks before bed
Well, tomorrow is the big day. 
Poor Richard has put so much time into this test, as it is expected.  We are so proud of how he has worked.
Today was a fun day! Liam and I finally were able to play in the snow and he had a blast! (it took awhile to snow enough to be able to play in it) And then after dinner, Liam led me on an adventure to find the tiger in our house. Cause apparently we have one, and he was bound to find it. No luck though. But he had us crawling on all fours to find it.
Such a silly, wonderful boy.
Put another mark in the books for good day, because today was definitely one of those.
(and keep my dear hubby in your prayers tomorrow morning while he takes that dreaded test...)

But no stress, right Richard? ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

(Day 23 & 24) Dear week...

Dear week:
I am not one to wish away a week of my children s childhood or my own life.
But I am making an exception for you. 
I have one request: Just go away, as painless as possible.
This week my husband is MIA studying for the MCAT (aka: death test) he is taking Friday.
Which means I am totally on my own. 24/7 this week.
Like I said, let's just get it over with, ok?
So far, you have not been the best. Well, pretty much stunk.
So, please shape up and give this mama a break.
Is that too much to ask?

Ok, I guess to be honest, it hasn't been 100% bad. 
Thanks for the little glimmers of wonderfullness (i love my made up word) that made me smile.
Like these moments: 

As I was doing something, I saw Liam grab one of Brielle's bows that was sitting on the desk. A couple minutes later I looked over at her to see this. At first I was confused because I didn't remember putting a bow on her...
 But then when she turned her head, I couldn't help but laugh out loud...
With the exception of one ear, he did a pretty good job putting that bow on her!

 Our normal dinner time scene:
with coloring books and colored pens, pencils and crayons all over the table so he will eat.

Today Liam wanted to eat Popsicles, eat fish crackers and sit next to the couch for lunch with me. We would finish one Popsicles and he would run to the refrigerator for more, drag me back to the floor and then say "sooo Mom, hi" like we were having some deep conversation. It was so fun sitting there with my little man eating "lunch" and "chatting".
(taken with my phone)
And Liam teaching Brielle how to dance while she studied his every move intently; Liam dancing and trying to snap to "I Believe in Miracles"; being able to snuggle next to Brielle trying to get her to nap and then her successfully taking a 3 1/2 hour nap today during which I got caught up on the housework; Richard being able to get a lot of studying done despite having insomnia last night; the fact I was able to make easy, fast and yummy dinners the past could nights etc.
So even though you haven't been the best 2 days in, 
thank you for the little moments of awesomeness, and please continue to make those moments happen in the upcoming days.
Cause gosh, I will need them.
But more than anything, just provide days that won't be so hard and feel like they are going fast so we can finish this week of craziness and MCAT-taking.  
It would be greatly appreciated.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Day 22) Matchy matchy

Today Brielle and I were matchy matchy.
We both wore black, hot pink and white to church today.
It's hard to see in these pictures, but we were stylin' in our matchy matchy-ness.
It called for a photo shoot with my number-one-main girl

Liam thought she was dang cute too and had to join in to give her massive loves.
He couldn't stop himself and jumped in to love her.
When he first saw her all dressed for church he said over and over again,
"baby cute, baby cute, cute cute"
He had just given her big kisses and she was kissing back, hence her face.
I was kissing them both, hence my face. This pic just missed "the" moment. 
Gosh gracious I love them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

(Day 21) TGITW

I love weekends.
There is something so magical about a Friday.
It has always been my favorite day of the week.
Something fun and exciting is always bound to happen. I guess it's the social butterfly inside of me that gets giddy when I wake up on a Friday morning. 
this weekend did not disappoint
My Friday consisted of Richard coming home a little early (he got one of the highest scores in the class on his organic Chemistry test at a 97% so he ditched his study group), eating a delicious dinner of to-die-for mushroom artichoke chicken soup (recipe coming soon) with rosemary bread
and then we dropped the kids off at one of our good friends and went on a steamin' hot date.
Our normal date. And I always have fruit and he always has chocolate (Taken with my phone)
my bestest friend in all the world (Taken with my phone)

Then Saturday (today) is also one of my favs. (albeit for a strange reason)
Growing up it  was the day we deep cleaned the house, so that became my habit.
See I love to deep clean and I get excited about a day reserved for deep cleaning the house (I told you it was weird...)
So today I deep cleaned and then we baby-sat our good friends kids and Liam had a blast playing with his besties.
Having a dance part with said besties (Taken with my phone) 
Having a dance part with said besties (Taken with my phone)

Now the kiddos (well at least one of them. the other is dream nursing) are asleep
the house is clean
kids clothes and toys are laid out for church tomorrow
my dinner is cooking (o the life of the psychotically busy mommy)
and hubby and I are about to get ready to watch an episode from our favorite show before bed.
Brielle all ready for bed (Taken with my phone)
Like I said,
Thank Goodness It's The Weekend.

Friday, January 20, 2012

(Dqy 19 & 20) To warm the frigid

The past 3 days it has been absolutely frigid. Not snowy like normal, but cold and windy. So windy it rattles the wall of our 2 story apartment and sounds like someone is pounding on the walls. In fact on day while I was playing with little man, the wind blew so hard it made such a loud noise that he thought someone was knocking at the door. Needless to say, I haven't wanted to venture outside in the frigidness outside, so we have stayed in. Which calls for some creativity. How to keep an almost 2-year-old inside for 3 days without going crazy? Fun projects. Like these:

salt dough handprints for the grandparents

The fun "corn starch and water" goo
Look at that face of concentration...he LOVED this!

Blowing "big bubbles" (which he yelled the whole time)
This is him saying "BIG BUBBLES!!!" This was his favorite

He loved this too! I had to pull him away from it after 45 mins so we could go grocery shopping!
Made caramels and turned them dangerously delicious
I dipped our caramel in chococlate at a craft day with friends...
they are to-die-for-melt-in-your-mouth-but-not-pretty caramels now...
 And then the occasional Mister Rogers episode
We call this their gansta looks
So while the rest of the world is frigid and covered in snow, we have been keeping warm, snuggley and occupied, having fun together. 
Liam and I decided we are going to do a "science" project a day. I am stoked.
(Thank you pinterest)
Maybe this winter won't be so bad after all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(Day 18) the lies.

(I wrote this a week ago, but it never felt right to post. Until today)
I have been thinking a lot about this post. I write it in my head while I clean, or have a particularly bad or hard day when I feel like a failure. Which I will admit, happens. I will write it today while my kids are {finally} both asleep even though I should be napping, cleaning the house or making dinner. But I have to get this out. I need to write this for myself, to convince myself of something. This is part 1 of a couple blogs on the same subject I want to write. But I need to start now. Because I have a bad habit and it will kill me if I am not careful. 
while I sit in a messy house
the kids and I are still in our PJs
I haven't eaten breakfast
or taken a shower
and it's 11:00am
all I can think about is
All the other mothers I know
with their constantly clean house
kids with their perfect, clean clothes
Enjoying a healthy meal
While she sits at the table in a beautiful outfit
 Wearing pearls
And it's 8:30am.

And then I feel like a failure. My home with overflowing dirty laundry and dirty dishes, even though I try with everything I have to keep it clean and organized. I spend almost every spare second doing that, but to no avail. My 2 kids under 2 take all my time. I have an excuse, right? But yet I can't cut myself slack. Whenever things don't go perfectly, I think about everyone else and how things must always go perfect. Because that is what I see. 
But in reality?
I am sure that things don't always go perfectly. I am sure they sit in their jammies, with their house a mess and their kids running around in a diaper just as often. We are so hard on ourselves. We assume perfection in everyone else and cast so much judgement on ourselves. Truth is, no one is perfect. No one's life is how we  imagine. We need to get past the lies that we tell ourselves.
That we aren't good enough
That we aren't perfect enough
That we aren't strong enough
That we aren't special enough.
Life isn't about "perfection". It is about living and enjoying our life. How can we truly enjoy our life and live if we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and lying to ourselves? I am a firm believer in a quote that I read the other day. "Comparison is the thief of joy". Truer words have never been spoken. If we compare ourselves, we feel less about ourselves and then we will not feel true joy. 
Everyone has hard days
Everyone isn't perfect
Everyone is allowed to have hard days
Everyone has low moments
that is not failure. That is life.

So my bad habit? The stress of not being "perfect". Of not having a "perfect" house 24/7. Of not having "perfect" meals every night at 5pm. Of not having "perfect" clothes. Of not having a "perfect" life. I am done. I am done expecting perfection out of myself all the time. I am done not giving myself breaks. I am my worst critic and I am done.
Hi. My name is McKenna and I am done comparing myself to women that don't exist. 
I am done living under the shadow of a lie.
I am done allowing this lie to dictate my life and steal my joy because I compare my life to it.
My life is perfect, mess and all,
 and I love it.

Part of the day my house looks like this:
Richard came home for a quick dinner break while I was folding laundry
And part of the day my house looks like this:
3 hours later after my nightly cleaning (not that it took that long to clean haha) before the kids bedtime. Richard had just gotten back from school. we were happy.
And thats ok.

Because this is what really matters:
Happy, healthy, loving family.
Not a perfectly clean house 24/7.

Do any of you feel the same way? What helps you "snap" out of it when you start comparing yourself to others?

p.s. these pictures are from yesterday (1/18), so I am a day behind, but I decided to post it today so I was current. I will post pictures from today and tomorrow on tomorrows post to even it out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

(Day 17) Learning experiences

So today (hehe...shh I am writing this the next day cause it got crazy busy..."today)  I got the kids up from their naps and Liam wanted to draw in his "notebook" I made him (just some papers stapled together. but he loved it). Then he wanted "sister" right next to him. So they chilled on the couch while he woke up all the way. Here is the cuteness:

Yesterday Liam had a learning experience. It was also a learning experience for mama. Here is what happened: Richard came home for his 45 minute dinner break from studying for the MCAT (10 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and he was playing with the kids. He had Brielle on his lap and all 3 of them were having fun. Then all of a sudden Brielle SCREAMED and started crying. Richard looked down and saw that Liam had bit her toe! Richard responded very loud and Liam looked up in horror. We both know without a shadow of a doubt it was NOT malicious at all, but he was just playing around because he has never bit anyone before. Plus we know him very well and the look he gave plus his reaction makes us SURE that it was. He looked so shocked and so sad. We put him in timeout for quite awhile so he will learn that biting is not ok. Poor boy. He felt SO bad. He came out and gave her tons of kisses and hugs, especially on her little toe. It really hurt her toe and his little heart as well. 
The learning experience for me was: how to properly discipline  when your child didn't mean to, but needs to still be disciplined. What we did worked for him. He went to timeout and we were firm (but loving about that), but then we cuddled & loved on him while we explained how biting is NOT ok. I think he really learned that lesson. This is the hard "grey" area part of parenting. It's easy to know what to do when a kid does something naughty on purpose. But yesterday I learned what to do if something happens on accident, that must be stopped. Parenting sure is an adventure... ;) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Day 16) Family night

Tonight I wanted to do something different. A break in our normal routine for fun. We tossed around ideas of getting ice cream, but then the idea of cuddling up with a bowl of popcorn and our box of newly bought fruit snacks watching a movie sounded much better. It was really cold outside and the idea of going out plus eating something cold wasn't appealing. So I broke out our popcorn bowl, filled it to the brim with yummy butter-laden "homemade" (like kernels popped in a brown bag in the microwave...by far the best way to have it) popcorn and the fruit snacks and we watched one of my favorite movies as a kid:
Richard had never seen this version! I couldn't believe it! So good.

We only got 45 minutes in to it before we needed to start getting the kids ready for bed.
But nonetheless, it was a fun family night activity!
Our first, of many, movie nights!! 
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