Emotions about Daddy

On Saturday mornings we FaceTime with daddy.  Some days it goes well, some days the connection is horrible and we end up nothing but frustrated.  I'm grateful for technology, but let's be honest-- nothing's the same as having the one you love here with you.

I have moved out of the crying-every-day stage, and the last two weeks life without Josh has felt "normal".  I was telling him on the phone last night that as nice as it is to not cry everyday, I hate that going to bed alone feels normal.  I hate that taking the twins to their baseball game alone feels normal.  I hate that bedtime stories without Daddy feels normal.

In my low moments (I still have those occasionally... I had one last night...) I think of our brightly colored countdown chain and say to myself, "Who cares? It doesn't even matter.  He'll come visit for a week, and then I'll just start this horribleness all over again."

But you know what? It's worth it.  Even if every visit is followed by two or three weeks of crying... it will be worth it. To have him here.  

To make memories with him, to see him with our boys, to hold his hand.

Right now we let daddy know we love him by sending him care packages.  Boxes filled with sticker-covered notes from little boys and loafs of cheese.  Packages with Seahawks gear lovingly picked out by his sports-loving son and tuna cause I hate that I'm not there to make his meals.

When he's here we can let him know we love him by hugging him (!), by spending time with him, and by sharing our life in Washington with him.  We are all so excited by this prospect!  Wyatt wants to take him to the movies.  The twins want him to come to one of their games.  I want him here for family movie night and at the pool when we swim on Friday night.

This time apart has not been easy for any of us. I don't imagine it's going to get any easier. (Especially after January when #4 has joined us...) But she is exactly what is going to have made this time apart worth it.

That daddy misses his boys,

and those boys miss their daddy...

But when baby girl makes her arrival safely, this time apart will have been worth every second.  

To stay connected when he is gone, we talk on the phone everyday.  I talk to him sometimes twice a day.  The boys talk to him pretty consistently every night at bedtime.  Wyatt likes to lay on his bed and rest the phone on his chubby cheek while he tells daddy about his day.  

We also FaceTime, as I said, on Saturday mornings.  

And in between, we send text messages.  Lots of text messages. 

Silly emoji messages,
messages painstakingly typed out by seven year old fingers,
pictures sent by an excited baseball mom,
and videos sent of our little shenanigans 
(reading our first sentences, laughing with our brothers...)


For a period of time, Wyatt carried around a tiny Lego my sister created that looks just like Josh.

We call him The Daddy Lego, but Wyatt took to just calling him "My Daddy".  So every once in a while he'll now ask, "Where's My Daddy?" and we all know he's talking about the tiny Lego guy with a baseball cap and jeans on.

My Daddy watched tablets with Wyatt, went to visit Nanny's house with Wyatt and even slept with Wyatt for a while.

The Daddy Lego made Wyatt so happy that I let it be.  Sure, it was a strange attachment, and sleeping with little Legos isn't my idea of "comfort" but it got Wyatt through those first few tough weeks, and for that, I'm so grateful.  Now My Daddy has joined the ranks of all other Lego guys, played with regularly, but returned to the box each night.  I think he was Wyatt's version of the "cry-every-day-phase" and now he's moved on.

We both still miss daddy, sometimes more than others, but we don't feel it quite so acutely as we did in the beginning.


Other than missing him, I've spent a lot of the last two months contemplating how much more in love we are than the first time we lived apart.  

The year was 2011.  
Wyatt was 6 weeks old, the twins had just turned three, and my husband was leaving for our Alaska adventure while the rest of us stayed behind to wait for new teacher housing to be built.  I look back on that time (ever grateful for God's infinite wisdom, and the baby he knew I'd need to keep me company in Josh's absence) and think "We barely even knew each other!"

It's a strange thought to have.  
At that point, we'd been together 11 years, married for 8 and had three children!  But it shows me how imperative our time alone in Alaska has been to our marriage.  How challenging and strengthening our four years there have been to our relationship.  Having only each other to lean on for much of those four years taught us to count on each other in ways that we never had before.  

I think at that time (in 2011) I was very immersed in parenting (obviously! with three kids under three) and our relationship naturally took a back burner to the demands of our little boys.

This time (now 15 years into our relationship, 12 into our marriage and our fourth baby on its way), my parenting demands are less overwhelming.  Still stressful, but less intense.  And my closeness to Josh is immeasurable.  My need for him (and his for me) has tipped the charts.  It makes being apart so much harder.  I can't decide if it's because I actually love him more, or if it's just that I'm less distracted by busy children and think about him more...

Either way, it feels good to feel more in love with my husband as the years have passed.  Even if that new depth of love makes the days apart seem longer.



On Having Twins

I will admit, most days I don't think about the fact that Logan & Jack are twins.  It's not a conscious thought I have.  But there are moments when I think, "Oh yeah, they're twins," or "Having twins is so cool".  When it does come to mind, I always feel really privileged to get to witness a twinship so up close.

One thing that reminds me is when they use "us" or "we" instead of "I".  Especially if they are alone.  They will tell the checker at the store for instance, "We are seven." Even if only one of them is with me.  Their whole life experience has been as part of a duo.

Last night when Jack was talking to Josh, who was making tortillas, he asked, "Do you miss us when you're making tortillas, dad?  We're good bakers."

One thing that is less enchanting about having twins is that everything is compared.  That for me has only gotten worse as they've entered school age and are learning side by side.  A guy at the store even asked them who was better at school.  Thankfully they said, in unison, "We both are!"

The comparing started at birth of course.
Who is older? 
Who was bigger?  
Who rolled over first?  
Who crawled first? 
Walked first? 
Talked first?

Really, all developmental milestones are compared in twins.  I feel lucky that with my twins where Jack was stronger physically, Logan was quicker academically.  This is still the case.  So even though they each have faults, they also each have strengths and that takes the edge off the comparisons for me.

Giving birth to Wyatt three years after the twins was like a breath of fresh air.  With a singleton I was finally able to quit comparing.


Wednesday night after baseball practice Jack asked me who played better, who was I more proud of?  I just told him straight up that answering that would hurt feelings and that they each have things they're good at and things they need to work on.  He accepted this and we talked about what things specifically he did well and what he needs more practice on.

We have also talked very openly about the frustration of being a twin.  People not being able to tell them apart; always being together; never having their own space... Those are hard conversations, but I think it's important to admit to them that sometimes having a twin is tough. We've also talked, though, about the perks of being a twin.  Having a built in friend; always having someone to count on; and never being lonely...  They both believe that Wyatt was in my stomach with them, he just didn't come out until later.  It's like they can't imagine having to be alone.




In the past I have participated in many different blogging challenges, but my favorites are always the ones that challenge me to blog everyday for a month.  Sometimes I would join a group of bloggers doing so, and sometimes I would just challenge myself.  This month I am joining my bff blogging inspirations-- Ashley & Tab-- (okay, yeah, so we've never actually met, but that doesn't mean we can't claim to all be best friends!) and I am committing to blogging everyday in October. 

Hence, "Blogtober".


{Our rightie, Jack}
To catch you all up since it's been a while...

I am currently doing baseball with the twins, which means three days a week we load up the car and head to the ball field.  This being their first time (ever!) on a team, they are doing really well.  I am so proud of them.  

I'm also homeschooling all three boys (the twins are in second grade & Wyatt is doing pre-k, plus I'm teaching him to read.  Today he read his first full sentence and we all got so darn excited!) and am enjoying our time homeschooling.

I'm involved in two book clubs.  One is online (The Inspired Readers) where we're reading The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart (seriously. read this. please.); and the other is with my mom and a friend of hers where we are reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.  (Deep.  Everything in this book is so deep!)

We are a few weeks away from Josh coming home for a visit and when he comes it will have been three months since he last saw us.  I am (very much) more pregnant and I think the kids have grown too.  It's going to be an awesome visit and we are all counting down the days!

Other then that, it's just regular mom stuff each day.  Cooking, cleaning, laundry.  Loving, hugging, soothing.  That "regular" mom stuff is keeping me quite busy considering I don't have the dad here to give me breaks.  I think that's why the blog has suffered.  I'm looking forward to giving it some much needed attention this month.

{Our leftie, Logan}

 I'm hoping this month to spend some time blogging about:

  • Twins and Twins vs. Singletons
  • Book Reviews of the two books I'm reading
  • Summer Memories that are backlogged in my Draft folder
  • What our Living Situation looks like with the in-laws
  • Some little boy Funnies
  • The Conclusion (3/3) to my online fiction: Part 1 & Part 2

So stay tuned!!!



Feeling anxious about hitting publish on this one. 
It's not really tied up with a neat bow, which I hate, 
so taking a cue from C.Jane's book, we'll call this my "First Draft".

There are days when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.  I feel like my years of parenting and my parenting confidence have an inverse relationship.  The longer I do this parenting thing, the less confident I feel about how I'm doing it.

In the course of a day I will question: my discipline methods, homeschooling the boys, how much I use social media, what toys we own, how much television we watch, what screen time should look like, the meals I prepare (how nutritious they are), and how to simplify while still making sure the boys' lives are enriched... The list goes on.

And those are my daily concerns.  My long term concerns are far bigger.  Are they kind? Do they empathize? Can they express their feelings properly?  Are they helpful?  Can they complete tasks independently? 

And perhaps most importantly, are they loved?

Do they know it?  Do they feel it?  When they're at their lowest, do they know way deep down that no matter what I love them?


 I remember my wedding day very clearly.  I look back at that girl the way you look at your favorite Hollywood starlet.  I gaze unabashedly at her body, taking in all the tight skin, the flat belly under her pure white dress and the million watt smile that knew nothing of the life that was to come.  I want to take her by the shoulders and shake the sparkle from her smile, and tell her to "get real" or "get ready" for all that life is going to throw at her.

I could never have imagined that in five years time we'd be expecting twins.  Or that three years after that, we'd both be college educated, jobless & expecting our third child.  I miss the naïveté of that beautiful girl.  The way she was so sure life was going to be good to her, and that she could, undoubtedly, handle any challenge that came her way.

Since that day twelve years ago, I've been beat up a bit.  But what bothers me the most aren't the bruises or the way my story has been woven (its made me who I am, so I can't help but love it despite it's darker parts).  No... what bothers me is the sunshiny optimism that was swept away with the storms.


As we prepared this summer for Josh to leave for Alaska for the school year, I had none of the confidence I should have had about my ability to handle the hard times that were surely coming.  I wondered at my ability to take care of our three boys and grow our fourth.  I wondered how I would manage being both mom and homeschooler.  I wondered how I would balance life in the city with the simplicity I fell in love with while living in rural Alaska.

As the weeks have passed with him gone, instead of feeling more confident about how I'm doing with the responsibility currently on my shoulders, I feel the opposite.  More unsteady, more unsure, more unhinged with every day that passes.

I've been having lower back pain for about two months now.  I imagine it's from picking Wyatt up (I can't help myself. He's still my baby!) and my center of gravity changing with the pregnancy as it's progressed.  This pain lead me to the doctor and then a massage therapist.  When I saw the massage therapist she told me that my ribs are out, in addition to a million other things wrong with my body, and that that happens when your body is curling inward, toward a fetal position. 

Since then I've worked really hard on opening my chest, standing taller and sitting up straighter.  I find that it's really uncomfortable (not physically, but emotionally) for me to do these things.  It's like I don't think I deserve to take up space in this world.  What a terrible, terrible realization.

I wonder, if the table were turned, what that girl in her beaded gown would think as she looked at me a decade into the future.  Would she recognize me?  Would she pity me?  Would she shake her head and ask, "How could it be?"

Maybe, just maybe, she'd hug me and lend me some of her confidence. 
Heaven knows I could use it.


Homeschool -- For Reals Now

 This morning I woke up, fed the kids, and immediately jumped into lesson planning for the week.  Josh sent my Saxon reading, our printer and the 100 Easy Lessons for Wyatt when he got to Alaska, but since he shipped it Media rate (a huge money saver!) it took a while to get here.  Well it has arrived, so now we get to start school for reals.

I spent the morning sorting through the twins' reading curriculum and after my coffee/blogging break, I will resume working on their math curriculum and refreshing myself on 100 Lessons, since it's been a few years.

Currently the boys have been working through their Scholastic First Grade Workbook (as opposed to doing their Saxon Math & Saxon Reading).  It's a good book, and I enjoy using it on occasion, but doing it for four weeks straight proved quite boring and I think we're all ready for some more challenging material.  We are SO happy to have everything we need to move forward to SECOND GRADE! (Still can't believe that they're in second grade.)

 Yesterday my dad worked for hours helping me build these new Ikea shelves (and a shoe shelf for downstairs), and the twins helped me organize everything. I am so excited to have all our homeschool stuff out of boxes and easily accessible to all of us.

 I thought since I am all fired up about homeschool (again) I'd do a post about our homeschool days and what they look like.
One thing we do every evening, regardless of it being a school day or not, is bedtime stories.  The kids each get to pick a book and I read them once they're jammies are on and their teeth are brushed.  I have to tell you, story time is much more exciting now that we are near a library!

Now that our Saxon curriculum arrived, I'll be using the library for more than bedtime stories, though-- I'll be using them to accompany our daily reading lessons.  I am super excited about this!

When we start our school days, right after breakfast, we start with journals.  The boys each have a half lined/half blank journal so they can write about the topic of the day as well as draw a picture to go along with it. This is one of my favorite things I have done as a homeschooler.  Most days I let the boys write whatever is on their mind, but sometimes I offer up a topic.  This year I've decided the twins have to write increasing sentences with each month that passes.  We started with three in August, now four in September and in October it will go up to five.  I think the challenge pleases me as a teacher, and the picture/creativity pleases them as students. It's win-win!  It's also a nice way to ease into our school day.

 As I mentioned above, we'll be using Saxon 2 for reading this year. After using Saxon 1 for first grade, I am so excited to have gotten my hands on Saxon 2.  It's a fantastic curriculum that is really user friendly, covering handwriting, spelling, phonics & everything kids need to know for reading.  I can't say enough good things about it.

 We'll also be using First Language Lessons again this year.  We finished Level 1 last year and will be moving on to Level 2.  What I love about this book is the repetition and simplicity of each lesson.  It's easy to fit in each day and the boys don't groan when I pull it out. (Can I get an amen?)

 The twins' handwriting has taken a turn for the lazy (yikes!) so I got some really simple handwriting workbooks that I love. It has them score their own work, circle the letters they think they did best, and has them practice the letters in a number of ways on each page.

 We've added Sign Language to our list of goals for this year, and I am starting with this simple set of flash cards I got from Amazon.  It helps that I already know sign language (I took it for two years in high school) as does Josh (his sister is Deaf).  My plan is to teach them boys the basics with these flash cards (the alphabet, numbers, and some common signs) as well as teach them the signs to their spelling words as they learn them.  It's a start at least!

 Honestly, what's homeschooling without a little Crayola? I might have gone a little nuts on the markers, but with three sets of busy hands, I wanted all.the.colors at their disposal.  Plus they make me super happy when I pull them out!

 For the read aloud portion of our homeschool day (my favorite part), we're currently working through these three books.  Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado I'm liking now that I've started at the beginning (which is technically for January), but when I was reading September lessons, they were a bit "sinner-focused" and I really don't want to go there with the boys.  So I am picking and choosing as we go along whether I'm going to share the lesson for the day or not.  It's not my favorite.  And if you have another book that would be better for sharing God/Jesus/The bible with the boys, I'd love to hear it.

We're also reading through this book of Aesop's fables.  The boys are really enjoying the stories and I love to hear them try to guess the moral of the story before I read it. Some of their ideas are really insightful.

And lastly, we've started The Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages.  We loved (absolutely loved) reading aloud Volume 1 last year, and thus far, Volume 2 doesn't disappoint.  It breaks history down into 1-3 page segments, written in a very readable way that leads to many internet searches (look up Ajanta caves and be held in wonder!) and discussions.

For Wyatt so far, we've been doing his journal together along with a few pages from his Scholastic Kindergarten workbook and really focusing on letter recognition.  He's got most letters down (both names and sounds) so I'm really excited to start teaching him to read.  He's going to do great!

I am also going to be starting the twins' math curriculum soon.  I thought I had everything I needed (I was just waiting to get my printer, which is also a copier so I could make prints from the masters) but when I sorted through it today I figured out I'm missing the first volume of assignments. Grrr! So now I am searching for it online, praying someone somewhere has it.  Meanwhile, we'll keep reviewing and work out of some math books I have on hand.

So that's how homeschooling is shaping up for us this year.  
Lots of great new curriculum as well as some old favorites.
I feel so lucky to be able to educate our boys at home.
I wouldn't want it any other way.


River with Papa Barry

One lucky day my boys and I got to go to the river with my dad.  
It was the most fun!!! And I'm so happy to have these pictures to remember it.