Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily struggles

I am a very blessed mother of four boys. Three of those boys are silly, rambunctious, loving boys. Someday soon I am sure the fourth will join them. He already knows how to make a raucous and get attention. I often try to remind myself about how truly blessed I am. My boys are healthy. They have the ability to attend school free of charge. H is even in a bilingual program without our having to pay for it. I've been to other countries and seen children playing with sticks in filth. I've seen them so excited to be given a used plastic water bottle. My house is small for our family of six, but we fit just fine. We have food and clean water. They have more toys than they need. We aren't separated from one another. I am able to stay home with them instead of having to work. These are the things I want myself to focus on when I'm struggling and frustrated. These are the things I want myself to think about when someone dumps a cup of water on the bed when they should be sleeping, or when I have to try and wrangle three rowdy boys in a restaurant, or when I am so very tired and all they want is for me to play with them or cuddle with them. Some nights, like tonight, I fail. I feel terrible (thank you allergies and sinuses) and I didn't get much sleep last night. I didn't cuddle and speak calmly to them. I failed with a great big F--. It happens. Thankfully it is happening less often than it used to. Tomorrow I will try again. I don't want them to remember the daily struggles we had with one another (fighting over a toy, Mama always being frustrated, yelling, spanking). I know these things will be in their memory, but I don't want them to stand out. I want them to remember always that we read a story, sing a song, and pray before bed. I want them to remember playing in the backyard on the swing set Daddy built. I want them to understand what it means to be kind, generous, honest, respectful, and hard-work; and I want to be the one who demonstrates that for them. I want them to know there is a time to have fun and a time to sit still. I want them to remember sitting around our table for meals regardless of whether or not our whole family could be there - I want them know that is where the family that is present eats and they do it together. I want them to remember love and hugs and cuddles from me, Husband, and each other. I want them to remember that we always made them apologize and give hugs and that this doesn't always fix the problem, but it's a start. There is so much I have to teach them, and there is even more that they teach me. My flaws are so present and obvious in how they act and react to life around them. I want to change me so that I can help them to grow. And to do this, to be a better person and mother, I must remind myself of all the blessing, big and small that I have. I must also point those blessing out to our children. So, here I am saying that I fail on a daily basis, and tonight was a more major fail that usual, but I am still so happy to be their mom. I am still so full of love for those boys who refuse to go to sleep, two of which are currently sleeping on the floor, who wake me up at ridiculous hours (all from the age of 6 months to 5 years) for various reasons, and who love to cuddle me and hang on me and hug me and give me kisses. I know the daily struggles won't go away, and I am sure that I will blog about them again and I know they will change as the boys get older (way to scary to think about now), but at this moment I am going to let go of my frustration and focus on my blessings and get some rest so we can all try to do better tomorrow.

My boys, blessings, and trials:
G - 3 years old
H - 5.5 years old
J - 3 years old
J, W, G, and H
W - 6.5 months old

Sunday, March 17, 2013

LA Marathon 2013

Today was the LA Marathon. Last year Husband decided to run the marathon in January, which gave him about 10 weeks to train. Not the best plan. This year's marathon was much more thought out and he started training in October. He did AMAZING! First, he ran 26.2 miles which already deserves a medal or a cookie or both. In addition to running that insane distance he also beat his time from last year by 34 minutes (and 4 seconds). SO AWESOME! Can you tell I'm proud?

I love being there to see him cross the finish line, but I also love the little mini vacation that has come with this trip for the last two years. Both years my sister-friend has come with me and we get some cool hang out time we don't get now that we're both "grown up" and have "lives." This year she was more about helping out with W, since he tagged along (he is only 6 months), but she also brought her awesome camera which I had a blast using and I definitely couldn't have done everything I did if it was just W and me.

Because Husband took the week off to run the marathon we were able to be a little more leisurely about things. We went to the LA Convention Center to pick up his bib number and look around. While there we tried a few free samples and recorded a few second video of W's adorable smile to pop up during the race to encourage Husband along.

Getting his racing bib

Next we went to Santa Monica and checked into our hotel, the Hotel Carmel. We walked down to Bruno's, an Italian restaurant that was wonderful and totally worth going to and I would go there again if I got the chance because it is that good. It's a sweet mom and pop shop. We met Bruno, the food was amazing, and everyone thought W was adorable. After dinner (and feeling way to full on some carb-o-licious pasta) we walked down the pier and looked around. No rides or anything, but I'm pretty sure none of us really wanted to go on any of the rides. The coolest part of the pier was watching someone catch an octopus. I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't think about it. The octopus was about the size of a small ball (the head could fit in my hand) and his tentacles were moving around. A little weird, a lot awesome - he kept it and I think that was the weirdest part of all. I did not know people "fished" for octopi...maybe they don't, but then why would he keep it.

The ferris wheel
The fishing poles
From there we went back to the hotel and hung out and then went to bed.

Husband was up bright and early, got ready, and headed for the shuttle to take him to the start line. Sister-friend and I slept a little longer (after eating a little bit when Husband left) and then we got up and got ready. We packed up and checked out and headed to breakfast at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (that's where we went last year). We then headed to the finish line to see a friend cross. There was lots of standing around waiting, we saw our friend cross the line and then waited for Husband. He made it, we followed him (sort of - we were on the other side of the fence pacing him) and let him know we would meet him at the end. It was crazy and hectic but we finally found each other. We went back to the hotel, he changed, we got our car from valet, and we headed home.

Santa Monica Blvd. (because we can't go without me hearing
the song in my head)
Converse display
After finishing (in the red in the middle)
Wearing his heat blanket (middle) walking with our friend
It was such a great weekend. Our boys had fun with friends and family, I had a mini vacation for the  most part, and Husband rocked it. I'm glad this is only a once a year thing, and I'm not sad that he has decided to probably not do it again for a while (training is difficult with four little ones), but I am glad he did it. I already knew how awesome and amazing he is, but I love that he has done something to show our boys how important it is to be healthy and how you can do anything you put your mind to (even if it is a wee bit crazy).

Monday, March 11, 2013

6 months

W is 6 months old today. It's hard to believe that at this time 6 months ago I was sitting in a hospital room waiting for Husband to return and having my own little panic attack that I wasn't ready for another c-section (wasn't too worried about the baby at that time, just getting him out). Now, he's here and he is growing so quickly. He is currently 14 lbs. 10 oz. and 26.5 in. long. He loves his food and thinks that if we are eating he should be too. He's had applesauce, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, yellow squash, green beans, green zucchini (not his favorite), beans, and avocados. And now, here is a plethora of fun pictures I took of him today.

He currently loves his toes!
Love that I got this shot.

So focused on what his brothers are doing.

with H
Not much sweeter than seeing his brother (J) try and comfort him.