Wordless Wednesday: Before and After

Before Seven Peaks
After Seven Peaks


What I Made Monday: Flip-Flops

This is a much-belated post. At our May craft night, the ladies and I chose an adorable flip-flop door hanger as our project. It's always so fun, because even though we all start with the same basic materials, our finished products are as different and individualized as we are:

All our different (but cute) flip-flops

I had a hard time deciding how I wanted to decorate my flip-flops. Should I do them springtimey? Girly? More manly, since that would better represent the demographics of my house? In the end, I decided craft night is for ME, so I chose my favorite colors and paper:

My finished door hanger

I braided three different ribbons to make the hanging strap, and I really like the way it turned out.

Close-up of the sparkly "straps"

Close-up of my fancy ribbon bow

The finished product hanging on my door!
It feels so awesome to slowly but surely decorate my little house!


Friday Letters, Plus an Update

Dear Cole,
To me, you are Superman. There isn't anything you can't do if you put your mind to it. I am SO grateful for all of your hard work and sacrifice for our family. I love you.


Dear Chocolate Chip Cookies On Top of My Fridge,
WHY OH WHY did I think I could resist your siren song? I've already eaten too many of your brothers and sisters. Remind me to never make you without a specific purpose again.

A girl who's trying to be healthier

P.S. Brittany, CURSE YOU for giving me such a fabulous recipe. This is all your fault.

Dear Matthew,
I can't believe you're two months old already! Every day with you is a new adventure. I love how you're developing your own little personality, and it melts my heart every time you smile, coo, or cock your little eyebrow at me. Please try to stay my baby for a little bit longer, okay?


Dear Lucas,
I love you so much, even though you're totally a Daddy's boy these days. I'll patiently wait for you to change your mind, though--there's only so many times Daddy can rip off your fingernail before you realize I would NEVER do something so rough (albeit necessary).


Dear Kyle,
I can't even tell you how AMAZED we were that you sat through your haircut without screaming, fighting, kicking, or crying one.single.bit. That's a huge achievement. Unfortunately for me, I thought that was a sign that you were finally coming out of your disagreeable phase. This impression was proven erroneous this morning when we fought for the BAZILLIONTH time about turning off the TV. At least you didn't threaten to call the police on me this time. But, even though you're a pain in the butt sometimes, I love you forever.


Dear Disney Channel,
Bless you (and curse you!) for having so many shows in the morning that entertain my boys. It makes it way too easy for me to turn on the TV and doze off some more and the next thing I know it's 10 am and we're all still in pajamas, without breakfast, and without any kind of productivity under our belts. But, if I try to get us going any earlier and turn off the TV before "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" is over, Kyle has a fit and threatens to call the police. *sigh* I guess it's lose-lose for me.

A Tired Mama Who Overuses You

Dear Knees,
Thank you SO much for finally feeling better! I was pretty worried for a while that I'd done irreparable damage to you. Now, let's figure out a way to start jogging again without a total revolt on your part, because I've really CRAVED it for the last two weeks.

A Newfound Lover of Jogging (who also loves her knees)

Dear Canadian Bacon from Costco,
Thank you for being so tasty and so filling. Thank you also for being only 1 point for a serving. You have become an integral part of my breakfasts.

Someone Who's Trying to be Healthy

Dear Laundry Pile on my Floor,
Why can't you fold yourself?

Someone Who Tires of Folding Laundry

Whew! It may sound cliche, but I can't believe how fast time flies these days! Maybe there will come a time when I'm on top of everything in my life, but now is not that time. I'm having too much fun hanging out with my boys to be productive, hence the lack of blogging, unfolded laundry, and unwritten thank-you notes from two months ago (yep, still haven't gotten those done. I also may or may not still have dishes to return from people bringing us meals).

I took Matthew in for his two-month well visit this week. I am always paranoid that my babies aren't growing like they should be, and I've been more so with Matthew. He just seems so much tinier than his brothers were at his age! But, the pediatrician told me he's healthy and strong, and even though he weighs TWO POUNDS (!) less than his brothers did at this age, he's still at a normal weight. I have to laugh though, because at 10 lb. 2 oz. he's not that much bigger than Kyle was at BIRTH. Matthew has started to have more alert, interactive moments, and we have even caught a few smiles here and there. He's a big part of why I rarely get any housework done--he likes to be held all.the.time. I'm trying to remember that this stage won't last forever and I should enjoy all of the cuddle time I can get. He still has SO MUCH HAIR. I get comments on it everywhere we go. It even has some curl to it! It only really gets "curly" when it's wet and I play with it a little, but it has a little bit of wave when it's dry. I've got my fingers crossed that it stays that way. I've always wanted a child with curly hair.

Lucas' vocabulary is finally expanding...although I think it's more like we're finally listening hard enough to understand what he's saying. He's been chattering for quite a while, but we rarely caught anything discernible. Then, we realized that part of the problem was how we were listening to him. One Sunday after church he came up to me and started urgently telling me something. I listened with half an ear, and I could tell that he was starting to get frustrated because I wasn't getting him what he needed. When I stopped and focused all of my attention on him, I quickly understood exactly what he wanted: a drink of water. This has happened so many times, and I'm starting to get better at slowing down and listening to him. Lucas has a huge personality these days. He LOVES to make people laugh, and he hams it up all the time to get people giggling. He loves to be outside, and he's Daddy's little shadow. He's also extremely clumsy. He's always covered in bumps and bruises. The other day, I noticed that one of his little fingernails was lifting away from the nail bed. It looked dead, like his finger had been shut in a door or sustained other such trauma. It didn't seem to bother him, but I was afraid it was going to snag on something. Just thinking about cutting it back or pulling it off gave me the willies, though. Cole had no such reservations, so he performed the "surgery" and now, Lucas is short one fingernail but still happy as a clam. He'll still show us his "owie" every now and then, but it looks like it's healing just fine and he rarely pays it any notice.

Kyle is full of surprises these days. I'm never quite sure what he's going to say. My relationship with him is the most volatile right now, because I think he's in a stage where he's trying to push his boundaries and see what I'll let him get away with. It's extremely taxing sometimes, but there are moments of entertainment mixed in. The other day, I turned off the TV before he was "ready" for me to turn it off (I think he would watch TV all day if I'd let him) and after wailing and screaming at me for a few minutes, he angrily told me "I'm going to call the police if you leave the TV off!" Needless to say, it made me laugh (and calmed me down). Even though he's difficult at times, he is such a big helper. I find myself asking him to go and get things for me quite frequently, and he's always willing to help me. He loves to talk to and snuggle with Matthew, and Matthew seems to smile and coo at Kyle most often. Kyle also achieved a huge milestone this week: he sat through an entire haircut without screaming, kicking, or fighting. This is a major deal. In the past, it has literally taken 4 adults to give him a haircut: one to do the actual hair-cutting, and three to hold his flailing limbs still. I think we all held our breaths during this last haircut, just waiting for the tantrum to explode, but it didn't come. Here's hoping we're past that part of attitude.

Cole is busy kicking butt and taking names at work. He was recently promoted to the Director of Revenue Management at the hotel, and he's been loving every minute of it. Even though he's a little on the green side, he's been proving to his bosses that he's up to the challenge. Every day he comes home with stories of how he's exceeding their expectations and generally being awesome. It's so great to have him come home so positive about his job. In his free time he's been taking advantage of the nice weather and trying to whip our yard into shape. The front yard is starting to look pretty good! Our backyard, though, is still suffering from the years of neglect it sustained before we moved in (the previous owner was a VERY elderly woman). We make a little progress every summer, but it's a little like a "two steps forward, one step back" situation. Hopefully this year we'll make more headway.

I'm busy taking care of everyone. :) Seriously though, I finally feel like I'm finding some balance between being a mom and being myself. For a long time, I felt incomplete because I only concerned myself with taking care of the kids and our home and being a wife and mom. It got to the point where there were days when I was unsatisfied with my life, and I hated that. I'm beginning to do things that I like to do, and I'm beginning to do things solely for ME. I've been doing a craft night once a month with my sisters and some friends, and it has been extremely therapeutic to have a little bit of "girl time." I've also made a greater effort to hang out with the other moms in my neighborhood when they organize play dates. It's been nice to feel like I have friends in the area and get the kids out of the house during the day. Finally, I've started exercising and trying to get healthier. I've started doing Weight Watchers with my sister-in-law, Brittany, and it's been really awesome to spend more time with her. For a while we were jogging together, but I had to stop and rest a couple of weeks ago because my knees were protesting the increase in activity. They're finally feeling back to normal, so I'm hoping to try and start jogging again soon. It's really nice to take 30-45 minutes, pop some earphones in, and enjoy the solitude when I'm jogging. Eating healthier has also been a big positive in my life. I've been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and cutting out processed foods, and I can feel the difference. I've also lost some weight, which I'm excited about, but honestly, it's not my main focus in all of this. I want to be the cool mom that plays and runs with my kids, which means that I have to be healthy and fit enough to keep up with them. Right now, I'm not really that mom--I've kept extra weight from each pregnancy, and it has slowed me down. I'm hoping to be at a healthy weight and fitness level by Matthew's first birthday, which will give me plenty of time to truly change my habits and lose weight at an appropriate pace. It feels nice to have personal goals outside of who I am as a mother, because I think I'll become a better mother as I meet those personal goals and become the person I want to be.

I looked at my boys today and realized just how lucky I am. I can't believe that I get to be the mom to these three amazing, unique, special boys. Even though some days are extremely hard and I want to listen to Kyle when he "sends" me to my room for a time-out, there are so many tender moments that I wouldn't trade for anything. I am truly privileged to be a mother.

Matthew LOVES to be outside!

Feeding the ducks outside Daddy's work

Matthew "self-soothing" in the sling at the store

Kyle and Lucas snuggling during nap time

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