Either Way

Dear Mikey,


I heard this song today and thought of you.


Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will blow away
Maybe I won’t feel so afraid
I will try to understand
Either way


Maybe you still love me
Maybe you don’t
Either you will or you won’t
Maybe you just need some time alone
I will try to understand
Everything has its plan
Either way
I’m gonna stay
Right for you


Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will roll away
Maybe I won’t be so afraid
I will understand everything has its plan
Either way


Wilco Either Way

grieving

I’ve been struggling with writing this. My fear is that people might misread what I’m saying. My fear is that someone who truly doesn’t know me, doesn’t know my heart, will read this and think I’m a bad person, or worse, a bad mom. My fear is that someday my girls will read this and feel unwanted. And that has never been true. But the process of accepting this new life of ours is just that, a process. And there is often great pain and frustration and confusion during any process. This is no different.


Someone reading may find themselves in a similar process. Someday my own kids may find themselves on this same path that we’re on now. And I think there is healing in being honest with yourself and others. So if you’re reading this, please see my heart. Please don’t fill in blanks with your own ideas and don’t assume that I’m saying things that I’m not.


I think that Phillip and I both, and maybe the boys, have been in a bit of a funk since the girls came to live with us. And it’s not a constant funk, not at all. Just kind of an ache. I think we’re all kind of grieving for what our lives were a couple of months ago. It pains me to even put those words out there for people to read. I’m not saying that we regret our decision. We don’t. We know it was the right thing to do. We know it’s what God wanted us to do. But even so, I think the four of us miss the life we had sometimes.


It’s like when you take an overseas job assignment and you know without a doubt that you are where you’re supposed to be, but you grieve for the life you had. You miss your friends and your home and just the way of life that you were used to. It’s like when you get married and the honeymoon wears off and you have brief moments of thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” It’s like when you have a parent or grandparent who has been in pain and dying for months or years and they finally go to meet Jesus and you know they are much better off, but you still want them back again. It’s like when you have a baby with special needs and this baby that you gave birth to is not the baby you dreamed about. And you grieve for the person he might not become, while still adoring the person that he is. It’s like when you move to a much bigger or nicer house but you miss the safe feeling of the old house. You miss being able to walk through the house with the lights completely off and know where everything is and never stub your toe or miss your footing.


It’s like that.


Even Jonah grieved for the outcome of the Ninevites when God chose to spare them. He knew he did God’s will and still he sat and he cried.


And now we’re finding ourselves in a new place that is very foreign to us. We don’t have a feel for this yet. This doesn’t feel normal yet. And our hearts hurt a little because we know that the life we had is gone. Not that this one is worse by any means. That’s not it. It’s just not the same anymore. It doesn’t feel comfortable or safe yet.


A couple of months ago this was our whole world. Our lives revolved around these TWO kids.



One of the reasons I like to document our lives is because I love being able to go back months, years later and see how things have changed. I love going back and looking at pictures of the boys and seeing how much they’ve grown. I love being able to go back and read Mikey’s progress with his speech. I love seeing pictures of their artwork that I’ve thrown in the trash.


I also love being able to go back and see how I’ve changed. Because many times I’ve just laid it all out there. My pain and fears and hopes laid out there for people to read. And as I write this today I know that someday I’ll be able to come back to this post and read it. And I’ll be able to smile because I won’t be grieving anymore. I know that someday I’ll have a hard time remembering our life before the girls. I know our lives will feel complete because they’re here instead of skewed.


I know these things.


But today I’m not there yet. Today I miss what was.

A baby

There’s a baby in my house. A real live, living, breathing baby in my house. And a girl one, at that. And I really wish I could show you her face, but I can’t. Some day, not that many months from now, you’ll get to see her cute little face on this blog. But until then, you’ll just get to see a lot of photos like this…



Not enough

There’s not enough of me to go around. I’m feeling pressed and stretched and sometimes a bit stomped on and snuffed out. And I feel like I don’t have a right to say it or complain about it.


Because I wanted this.


I want this.


But because I wanted this doesn’t make it any easier.


How can I homeschool, run a successful business, keep up a house, pray, feed the dog, pay the bills, be a good wife, buy groceries? How can I do this with four kids? The truth is that I can’t. And I’m not. Things are slipping. Things are getting lost and dropped and left behind and ignored. So just in case there’s ANY thoughts in anyone’s mind that I’m doing it all and doing it perfect or even well, know that I’m not. Not really. This is harder than I ever could have imagined.

Let’s talk about…

…Brittany.


She has lived with us now for approximately three weeks. And we had a few visits with her before that. We officially met her on December 10th, six weeks ago.


And in that very short amount of time she is calling us Mommy and Daddy. She was doing that almost as soon as she met us. She is very willingly giving us both giant hugs. Sometimes she squeezes so hard I’m afraid she’s going to suffocate me. She very willingly gives me kisses. Not Phillip yet, but I think it’s because of his hairy face. But we’re not forcing it. She’ll give Daddy kisses when she’s ready. Yesterday she let Phillip kiss her arm. Progress.


She sings her entire alphabet and it’s the cutest thing. I need to record it, but knowing her she probably wouldn’t sing it if I tried to record her. She can count up to about twelve and then she starts making up gibberish “teen” sounding words.


She has a funny little dance that she does when there’s kid music playing. She kind of holds up her fists a little and just shakes her booty back and forth and bounces a little. I can’t really describe it, but I can close my eyes and see her doing it.


When I put her hair in a ponytail I like to twist her curls around my finger to make one single ponytail ringlet. It doesn’t stay like that of course, but I like to do it anyway.


She has the cutest little embarrassed smile. You can see her right dimple really well when she does this smile.


She LOVES her brothers and her sister. She is a very attentive big sister to Jade. She is warming up nicely to her new grandparents. She doesn’t like the dog, but she tolerates him. That’s pretty much how we all feel about poor Scott.


She tests me off and on all day long like any two year old would. I think she’s beginning to accept the fact that I’m in charge and she’s not. But we have had a few “coming to Jesus” meetings. And she has had to make a few trips to pick up Mikey from school without shoes on because when it comes time to leave, she refuses to let me put them on her. And then she whines because she doesn’t have shoes on. Silly child.


We’re slowly figuring out what she likes to eat. She’s got quite a belly on her so she’s obviously not missing many meals.


I can feel myself getting more and more attached to her. I know she’s quite attached to me already. Two year olds are turkeys in general and it is tough getting a child when they’re two. Sometimes I feel like I’m disciplining more than I’m playing and having fun. And to be honest, she and Mikey are double the trouble and stress. When either one of them are gone it makes things so much easier. But when I have them both together by myself I can tell that I might need to get on blood pressure medication.


But all in all, we’re finding our way. We’re learning her. She’s learning us. We’re building trust. She is handing the transition amazingly well. I think she’s handling it much better than Phillip and I are. She is so resilient and has been so very brave taking on this new life with us. And the more we get to know her, the more I’ll write about the things we know.

Survival Mode

A few different people have said that we are in “survival mode.” We have said it too about ourselves. Now before I offend someone who has actually ever been in true survival mode, like for their lives, just take a breath and know that I realize this is not the same thing. Although sometimes I do kind of feel like I might not survive this.


So 4 kids survival mode…..


You know what, I had planned on writing a clever post about all the things we’re doing and/or not doing to get through the day with four kids. And as I sit here and think about what to write, I’ve got piles of laundry that need to be folded and put away and it’s already after 11:00 and I have to get up at 6:30 and the baby will most likely wake up about midnight and be inconsolable for a while, and tomorrow the laundry that I’m putting away tonight will be back in the dirty clothes again, and I just bathed for the first time today, and the weekend is jam packed….and….and….and…I just need to get off the computer and do what needs to be done. Maybe another day I’ll have something clever, but not this day.


Survival mode. Yeah, I guess you could say we’re in survival mode.

My Favorite Part of the Day

This may gross some of you out. Or you might puke a little in your mouth after reading this or something along those lines. I don’t care. Seriously, I don’t.


My favorite part of the day has always been after the kids go to bed and Phillip and I have an hour or two to just relax and talk or watch t.v. together. I’m not talking about making out like teenagers, although if we weren’t so stinking tired all the time we just might. It’s nice to just…be…just exist together without all the interruptions that are present when the kids are awake.


Now that we have four kids this time for us is so much more valuable. I just love resting next to him or laying on his chest and watching some garbage on t.v. Just that hour or two in the evening after the kids go to bed is enough to take away the stress of the day. I just can’t imagine my life without him. And now, especially since we have two more kids, I just need Phillip more than ever. I’ve been telling him a lot lately that he better not dare leave me with all these stinkin’ kids.


And it’s almost that time. My favorite part of the day. I can already feel some of the tension melting away.

FOUR

On January 9th Mikey turned four. Yes, I’m behind on blogging about that. I’m behind because we have four kids.


FOUR!


I can’t believe my baby is four. I can’t believe I have four babies. I can’t believe my four year old baby is a big brother times two. Four years ago he came to us. And oh how different and boring our lives would be today if he had not. Here are just a few highlights from Mikey’s 4th birthday party.


FOUR!


The cake was awesome!! If you need a cake, Karen McCown is your gal.




Hey Mikey, look at the camera. Oh, never mind. Whatever.




Mikey blew out the candles before I was ready to snap it. We did not sing the happy birthday song. He hates that song. Can’t say I blame him really. It is pretty lame if you think about it.



It looks like some little hand is trying to steal Mikey’s cake.



Mikey got lots of cool stuff from lots of cool people who love him to pieces. He’s a very lucky kid. And we are so lucky to have him!




Big Brother shirt!!! WHAT?! Still having a hard time getting used to the idea.



Mikey, just on the off chance that you read this some day…
I’ve tried many times to put into words how much we love you. But I just can’t find the words that really paint a picture of what I feel for you. I just love you so much it almost hurts. God has used you and will continue to use your life to work miracles in this family. My heart is bigger, fuller, stronger, and whole because of you. Never ever forget how completely loved you are by SO MANY! What an honor it is to be your mom. These last four years have been a blast. And if I am completely gray by the time you are a grown man, just know that you had a HUGE part in that.

Tough day

Mikey had his 4 year check up this morning. He was okay after waiting about 30 minutes in the waiting room and another ten or so in the office. But after that, he was gone. Kicking, screaming, hitting, yelling…..it was bad. There was nothing I could do to stop him. Not in that little room. Any attempts I made to calm him down only escalated things even more. So I just let him scream. They probably got to us a little sooner anyway because of all of it.


He’s been having some pretty serious mood swings and tantrums lately. And I’m talking even before we knew about the girls. I don’t know what has sent him into a tail spin these days, but it’s gotten pretty hard. Add two little girls into the mix, and Mikey just seems a whole lot harder. Most of my time with Mikey before the girls was spent curbing his tantrums and keeping him from falling off the edge. I can’t do that as well now. And today, in that doctor’s office, it just all seemed like way more than I can handle.


And I was hoping that the PA we were seeing would offer some genuine help. Something we could try that would just take him down a notch or two. And she immediately suggested ADD medication. He’s four!!! HE’S FOUR!!!! I will exhaust every other possibility I can think of before I put my FOUR YEAR OLD on medication. Then…and only then will I consider it. He may need meds some day. But if we ever go that route, I will do so with a clear conscience knowing that I tried other things first. And don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not judging anyone whose child is on medication for ADD/ADHD. I know that some children are genuinely helped by that. But I do believe that the medical community is too quick to suggest that stuff before other avenues are explored.


So we are putting him on Omega 3 and Melissa Supreme, first of all. I’m going to be cutting way down on his sugar intake. And we’re going to be giving him (or at least offering him) lots more fresh fruits and vegetables. Our kids don’t eat a ton of junk. I don’t even buy chips and sodas typically. But they do eat more packaged and canned stuff than they should. And they eat their fair share of candy. But just hearing that doc suggest medicating him lit a fire under my butt.


I don’t want Mikey changed. I don’t expect to ever have a calm Mikey or a Mikey that obeys the first time you tell him something. I fully expect Mikey to be quirky and fidgety and temperamental his whole life. That is just part of what makes him who he is. I am totally fine with that. But what we need is just to calm his mood swings enough that we can make it through a day without 30 or more melt downs about insignificant stupid crap.


Phillip and I are meeting with Mikey’s pediatrician on Friday to talk about all of this stuff. I trust him. I hope he offers us some hope without medication.