Reflection

2014 was hard. Very. Very. Hard.

I am SO eager to see what 2015 has in store for our family, because I have an inkling it’ll be better than 2014, but even if it isn’t, I know now that we can probably handle whatever is in store.

If I think over the past year, it was really only the second half of the year that was difficult. The first half was a bit of a blur–the usual school/work/church/life/family/friends/chasing toddlers busy-ness.

July was a mix of excitement and faith….putting a house on the market, leaving my babies behind for a week long mission trip, and learning to let go a little.

August taught me that it was possible to keep a house “show-worthy” with two littles and a husband and a dog. I honestly didn’t know I could keep a home as spotless as I did while working full-time. Looking back, I’m certain I didn’t spend much quality time with my guys though–I mostly followed behind them picking up, dusting, sweeping, and shining.

September taught me to trust God’s timing–an offer fell through, or rather didn’t even make it to contract. I suddenly knew one of the highest of highs and (thought) the lowest of lows. Thankfully, on September 18th, another offer DID lead to a contract…

October 2014 was quite possibly the most STRESSFUL month of my life–planning a move, making that move (all the while blogging and venting about it), and then REALLY experiencing lows–losing a fury family member within a week of moving, followed by a dreaded phone call that our buyers wanted to back out. I remember thinking things couldn’t get much worse, and then November rolled around…I had a miscarriage–a chemical pregnancy–some sort of sick joke nature plays where you think you’re just having a period but really you’re not. In some ways, I wish I had never known–it just led to heartache, questions, and blood tests, but in other ways, I’m grateful I know that some of my CRAZINESS was really due to a cocktail of hormones and not just me losing my mind. (At least that’s what I tell my hubby.)

C.S. Lewis quotable

December has been an absolute BLUR. On the 5th, we FINALLY closed on the house, with the buyers who signed on September 18th! We then frantically bought Christmas gifts, along with making quite a few, and had a slew of celebrations with family and friends–I believe we participated in 7 or 8 Christmas meals and gift exchanges.

All this leads me to realize how BLESSED we are. Yes, moving was hard. Losing Izzy and a baby was hard, but I believe that our marriage is stronger, and my faith is too.

2015 will be FULL of changes too, and I know it will be hard–we are going to become a one income family, I’m going to make the huge adjustment of staying home with the boys, and (Lord willing) focus more on an Etsy shop, Junk Hippy, and photography….hurrah for “momtrepreneurship.” ­čśë

My baby is a toddler and other musings….

Hudson

 

I haven’t purposely taken a hiatus, but life has been nothing short of crazy. I was recently reflecting┬áover the past five months, and it’s a miracle that I haven’t had to be medicated. ­čśë However, as┬áI began thinking though over the past two years, it really seems we’ve had a “charmed life” as my Memaw likes to say.

Since Hudson joined the world and became a part of our family, we’ve really had it easy. Sure there was a short, rough period of transition after he arrived, but he’s brought nothing but joy and calm to my life. From the day we brought him home from the hospital, I referred to him as my “chill boy,” and he still is (at least in comparison to his big brother). He still wants to hold my hand, give hugs and kisses, and even if he tries to wander, he always come running back exclaiming “Mama!” with the biggest smile on his face.

Hudson2

Today, he is two. He is no longer a snuggly, wrinkly newborn or a baby attached to my boobs hip. He’s an explorer, testing his independence, keeping up with his big brother, and holding his own in wrestling matches. I am so thankful for his presence in our family!

Hudson3

Roller Coaster

SO. I haven’t written in a week because the past seven days have been a roller coaster of emotions. I am not sure that I’ve had a more difficult season in my life, and I know I’m supposed to “Count it all Joy” (James 1:2-4) but that has been THE HARDEST choice to make.

Last Monday night or maybe Tuesday–my days run together–we got a call from our realtor saying our buyers wanted us to sign paperwork to release them from the contract. My initial reaction was shock and LOTS of tears accompanied by that lovely I-wish-I-could-go-throw-up-because-then-I’d-feel-better feeling. Thankfully, my husband and father had a much less emotional reaction and were able to calm me down. Twenty-four hours later, we negotiated some things in order to keep our buyers happy. Basically, we are giving them a little more money for closing costs and ┬áhad to do some more in the way of repairs/improvements. It’s funny how literally for 48 hours it was all I could think of–and yet now, it seems like it was weeks ago and things are moving along fine. HOWEVER, I will not be excited, celebrate, or spend a dime on a non-necessity until we actually hand the keys to someone else!


 

This last week has also been an epic disaster in parenting. One evening, the husband was gone and I attempted bedtime with the boys solo. Sometimes, I wonder why I even try? What would be so bad about letting the boys stay up all hours of the night? It seems that if I try the bedtime routines alone I end up hating┬ástrongly disliking the boys for not going to sleep easily and hating ┬ástrongly disliking my spouse for not being there and then hating myself for thinking such terrible things. I mean, people are suffering all around the world, but if it’s 8:30, and my guys aren’t asleep, I turn into a crazy person.

That same disastrous evening ended in a drive attempting to get the boys asleep, some crazy text messages to my man, and me apologizing to my boys for losing my temper. After my apology, rather out of the blue, my older one says, “When I get bigger we can┬áget married, and you can wear a princess dress and have flowers, and I can have flowers in my big black pocket.” I’m always amazed at how easily children can forgive, forget, and move on to something else. They definitely point out my flaws, but they remind me of how blessed I am as well.

Hopefully the rest of this week and the weeks to come won’t be as much of a roller coaster…

 

Thankful.

I think sometimes it’s too hard to get out the “fancy” camera–my Nikon D7000–but if I don’t get it out, I miss capturing moments like this one:

red house

This was taken on “Moving Day,” October 11, 2014. It was a hectic day, and I almost didn’t pause and force us to take one last photo in front of our “red house,” as Cannon has so deemed it. I almost didn’t make Rusty grab Izzy, and now I’m SO thankful I did. I’m glad I forced my boys to stop and take a few seconds to “pose” for our picture. I am also glad for small things like the basket of “choo-choos” on the chippy-painted chair. I debated about getting them out of the frame (at the time or in post-processing), but I left them there as a reminder. It brings back the memory of how my older son carried that basket around for almost two weeks straight–probably out of fear that they would get packed away or he wouldn’t be able to find them at his “new house.” I’m thankful my husband is wearing his OU shirt–reminds me how we watched the OU/Texas game BEFORE moving (priorities), and how just a few hours after, he would be giving up football (on TV) for over a month.

I LOVE my family. I LOVE this photo. I do wonder though if I had known what the next couple weeks had in store, if I still would’ve had “Moving Day” on October 11th. I doubt I would.

Perspective…with a dash of Hope!

I rarely talk about my job–I’m a school librarian, and I LOVE it. I will openly admit that I don’t work NEARLY as hard as I did as a classroom teacher, but I still get the joy of being around great students, teachers, and teaching the things I love–literature, research, technology, and general information skills. One of the things I’m thankful for about my work is the perspective it gives me. There are some days I come to school stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed with all the things that come from being a wife, mom, and still working full-time. Then, I’ll talk to some of my students or hear stories from a teacher, and my life suddenly becomes a cake-walk. I don’t have it HALF as hard as some of “my kids.” I have a great support system, and I have HOPE. HOPE that anchors my soul. HOPE in Jesus Christ.

Speaking of HOPE, we have had some encouragement on the home front! We got a call from our realtor recently that our buyers have a new contract on their home! It’s with a local bank and known lender this time–thankful! If their inspection and appraisal go smoothly, they’ll close at the end of November, which means we will close shortly after! My prayer is that we can also close before December–it’ll make the holidays less of a stress.

It’s amazing to me how one phone call from a realtor or one story from a student can change my perspective and remind me about the HOPE that I have.

Day 20: The BEST Dog Ever {#write31days}

Warning: this is a longer post just because I want to remember details…

On Saturday, October 18th at 10:59 pm, Izzy died in my husband’s arms. At the time, I was an emotional mess. Now, I see just how many things we have to be thankful for. Her death was quick–she seemed fine and happy during the day, we got home around 9 pm, and she wouldn’t walk, eat, or drink. She passed away by 11. That is a VERY quick process in my mind–I’m grateful we didn’t have long days of her in pain or having to make the decision of whether or not to put her down. I’m grateful she seemed comfortable and was held by the one who loved her most when she passed. I’m grateful the boys were both asleep when it happened. The night was VERY hard and the next day was too–coming home from church was the hardest. I’ve grown so used to telling the boys, “let’s go see Izzy” when we are heading home from somewhere. My oldest kept repeatedly calling for her or asking why she died. I explained she was sick with a thing called cancer and was now with Jesus, the angels, and Charlie. He then replied that he was going to die so he could see Izzy….

izzy

I got Izzy from a shelter in Prague, OK in the fall of 2008. She was probably two years old, and she was listed on PetFinder as Isadora. I’ll never forget when I first met her–my dad went with me, and I held her in my lap on the ride to Wellston. She was shaking the whole time. She LOVED dominating my parents’ dogs, and she stayed at their house and my aunt’s house until Christmas Eve, when I gave her to my husband.

On Christmas Even, wearing a jingle bell collar, she ran out of Memaw’s spare bedroom into a living room full of family. I think I had Rusty open a ring box with her dog tag in it. Everyone loved her–she was fierce, but playful, protective, loving, LOYAL, and wanted to always be near Rusty or I.

For two years, she was our baby.┬áShe slept under blankets or our bedding until the last few months–one of the side effects of the medicine we tried made her feel hot and she no longer “burrowed.”┬áShe went with us to our parents’ anytime we left home. We took her to family get-togethers, took her on walks, bought her chew toys, rawhides, treats, and taught her tricks like saying “bang” and she’d roller over “dead.” She slept in our bed every. single. night., under the covers, at our feet or curled up behind knees. She was extremely protective of the hubby–if I playfully hit him, she’d go NUTS and “attack” me.

She kept me constant company during football seasons–in the fall of 2009 and 2010, she’d curl up on the couch with me after school every day and take a nap. She would bark like crazy sometimes–a trait I did not like, but it was usually because she was being protective or warning us of something.

She ate my panties…like don’t leave any laundry lying on the floor, clean or dirty. She’d turn them intro crotchless undies. Gross, I know, but something we laugh about. We once had to take her to the ER because she at more than FIVE.

She loved to play fetch with tennis balls in the house, but never really learned to “drop” the ball–she wanted you to yank it out of her mouth.

My favorite times with Izzy were when I was pregnant with Cannon–it’s like she knew the days I needed extra affection or rest or just to be left alone. She was my constant companion before I had him.

I will be totally candid in saying that my affection for her wavered once the boys came along–my husband’s did not. He continued cuddling her, calling her his baby, and his only girl. I admire him for that. I will miss the boys yelling for her or chasing her and her chasing them around the house (all while screaming and barking loudly). I will miss her eating our crumbs or even snatching things out of they boys’ hands. I will miss her protective nature, and I will miss how she so desperately wanted to be by my side even if I didn’t want her around.

Izzy truly exemplified unconditional love.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Day 13: And then my heart broke {#write31days}

To say I’ve been emotional and overwhelmed lately is an understatement! We’ve had two nights in our “new house” and I desperately want it to feel like home, but I know that will take time. I’ve made pretty good headway in the way of unpacking and putting away–focusing first on the boys’ room and all their things. I do wish someone had given me a little more of a warning in how much a move can really affect little ones. I tend to think they’re so resilient and forget that changes can be just as difficult for them.

Our first attempt at nap time was yesterday, and my strong-willed red-head flat out told me he wasn’t going to take a nap…after a lengthy back and forth conversation he finally said “it’s hard because it’s different.” I couldn’t agree more. He’s carried his basket of choo-choos everywhere–I’m sure he’s afraid it’s going to be packed away or put somewhere he won’t be able to find.

different is hard

 

Then, last night at bed time he said some words that made my heart break a little….“I want to go home.” I wanted to say, “me too,” but instead I explained that we were home, but it was new and hard. I explained all the positive things about our new house–closer to Dadda’s football field, closer to Nana & Papa’s, Lolli & Pops’, has a much bigger yard, and a really cool park and “ducks’ pond” nearby. He just responded by saying he wanted to go to his “red house.” We talked a little more about our move and all our toys being at the new house, and when I asked why he wanted his “red house,” he replied he wanted his dirty garage. ­čÖé (our new house doesn’t have a garage)

We finished our conversation, and he asked me to hold him and fell asleep in my arms. And I cried. And cried. And cried.

I “know” we’ve made the right decision, and I “know” my strong-willed red-head will barely remember his “red house” in a few years, and this new house WILL start to feel like home, but in the meantime, my heart may continue to break a little. Any tips on making the transition happier for my boys?

Day 10: In Mourning {#write31days}

Last night, I sat on a blanket in our backyard watching the boys play, the sun set, the stars appear, and I let myself grieve.

I realize I haven’t lost a loved one, but this is a very hard change, so I’m taking the advice of a fellow #write31days blogger and allowing myself to grieve. I’m mourning the end of an era–I openly admitted this to my man and told him I know I’m being overly dramatic. However, that is how I feel. I sat in our backyard as planes flew over our heads and thought of how my boys have grown up in this house–I can remember bringing C outside on a blanket before he could even sit up and laying under the shade of a tree that’s no longer there. We’ve played catch, chased each other, played in the water, mud, caught bugs, chased frogs, laughed, and cried in our backyard. I will miss it. I will miss the boys pausing their play to watch a plane fly overhead. I will miss them running circles around the hot tub we rarely used. I will miss Izzy running back and forth, back and forth along the fence barking wildly at the neighbor’s dog.

airplanes last night sandbox

I am fully aware that great things are in store for us–and I wholeheartedly trust that we are doing the right thing, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult. I will do the next thing. I will continue packing boxes, and as I do, I am certain I will shed more tears. I will mourn.

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Photos: these are far from technically perfect–iPhone photos taken as the sun was setting–however, they make this Mama’s heart happy. The first is my little man watching “airplane” fly over us, the second was taken on accident by C, and #keepinitreal, I had been crying both from sadness and great gratitude about our times in our backyard, and the third is where C would often sit when we came outside to play. I will forever remember our last night in our first backyard.

Day 6: Cry me a River {#write31days}

Pardon me while I spill my guts…

For the past 48 hours, I have cried at the drop of a hat. A nail went into a board crooked: sobbing. My baby fell asleep while rocking: sobbing. I looked at our pitiful dog: sobbing. Our three-year-old decided he needed to jump on my back without warning me: sobbing. Stared at piles of boxes in garage: sobbing.

It seems that e v e r y t h i n g has hit me at once. It’s as if I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that this moving thing is actually going to happen–granted something could fall through last minute. {Please spare me your horror stories of closing day catastrophes}, but it seems things are actually falling into place and we are moving in FIVE days. We don’t have to be out until the 17th, but this coming Saturday is the ONLY one between now and closing. AHHHHHHH. So for the past 48 hours, anything I see triggers a memory or some thought that leads to tears. Thoughts about how we are leaving the only home my babies have ever known, or all our Christmases as a married couple have been within these walls. These walls have heard the first giggles and first words of my boys. They’ve heard my cries of desperation during middle of the night feedings. And I am suddenly scared to death to leave them.

C.S. Lewis quotable

I know the wise words of C.S. Lewis, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind,” but if I’m being perfectly candid, that doesn’t help me not want to just curl up in a ball and cry. I don’t do well with change, but in the next five days, I’ll have to put my big girl pants on and “do the next thing.”

Any words of wisdom or encouragement regarding change/transition/moving?

Day 4: Izzy {#write31days}

The only other female in our house, is our dog Izzy. She is my husband’s “daughter.” He loves her like a human being–they cuddle every night, and she craves his attention. Also, if the boys or I are messing with him in any way, all he has to do is say, “Izzy!” and she’s on the attack. I got her from a shelter six years ago as a Christmas gift for the hubby. For two years she was our only “child,” and she slept on our bed with us every night until baby boy two came along. She’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, active, loud, and loving. She also has lymphoma.

Izzy2008

We’ve known for a month now, and she’s on some medication to see if it will send it into remission–there’s a 50% chance. I dread the day–be is soon or far away that she is no longer with us. The boys LOVE her, and every time we walk in the door after being away, they say “Izzy!” and try to find her. Moving will be a HUGE adjustment, but losing Izzy will quite possibly be harder. Harder to explain, and I’m certain, will bring many more tears than packing boxes does. For now, hopefully we will fiercely love our crazy dog a fraction of the amount she loves us.

Izzy2014

 

Edited to add: On October 18, 2014, Izzy passed away in the arms of her “daddy.” We will forever miss her and are grateful for the way she fiercely loved us.┬á