Us in August

It’s getting harder and harder to post these without including a real picture of us.  Because our family is getting cuter and cuter as the days go on.  Really.  We’re probably the most adorable little family ever.

But I digress.

So here’s a picture of Little on her big wheel at my parents’ house in Texas.

DSCN9694Told ya.  She’s totes adorbs.

In August:

We went to our favorite beach and spent the day lounging on the sand and wading through the tide pools.  Then hung out with the brother and sister-in-law who lives close by.

We went to the Boston Children’s Museum.  So fun.  I think I took about 100 pictures of the first five minutes because everything was so cute, and then nothing because we were busy playing.  We rode our first “train” (re: subway) and Little was extremely disappointed that we couldn’t meet the conductor or have breakfast like the dinosaurs on Dinosaur Train. The highlight of her trip was our very short taxi ride during which she didn’t have to sit in a carseat.  She made sure to buckle up though.

We listed our condo.  Woohoo!  

I started selling essential oils, mostly because I want the discount, but srsly though they’re freaking amazing.  I’m sure a #shamelessplug post is coming soon about it, but I can’t stress enough about how they’ve changed our household.  Sleep!! It really does exist!!

We saw The Wizard of Oz at our local theater.  Both the movie and our theater were celebrating 75 years.  Not only was the showing free (and awesome) but we got to meet the wicked witch and the scarecrow after a free pizza lunch.  Not to shabby this little town of mine.

We had our yard sale and sold a bunch of our crap and gave away the last of it.  And got so much money.

We went on our third date as parents.  We were going to go to a batting cage/mini golf, but it was pouring rain.  So we decided to hit up the arcade instead.  It was sooooo lame.  As in, I saw a couple of my middle school students there lame.  We hit up Chinese food after and came home early.  Why is dating so hard?

FIL turned 60 and we surprised him with a party and family pictures.

Little went to her first VBS and loved every single minute of it.

Littlest got really sick and ended up in the emergency room two nights before our trip to Texas.  Nothing that extra cuddles and a double dose of Motrin couldn’t fix though.

We spent 5 days in Texas.  Both girls did great on the plane ride until the very last hour and fifteen minutes.  Then they were so over it.  But we made it.  Littlest was sickish most of the time, but she did great.  And Little got ant bites the size of welts all over her. So I guess we have that to look forward to in our move.

We ended the month in Maine over Labor Day having a lobster boil and hanging out with Grammy and Papa.  It was fun, but oh so tiring.

And lastly, August 29th marks one year since we sent off for our adoption papers! One year ago we decided to adopt and this month will mark three months with our two little girls.  What a whirlwind it’s been.

I’m hoping next month will be less of catch-up and more of getting up these posts in time…

Awkward and Awesome //

The Awkward

–Having a yard sale.  I mean, there’s nothing more awkward than having people barter with you for your own stuff.  Especially when you’re selling it for cheap and they want to pay cheaper.  Makes you wonder about your state of mind during your original purchase.

–Cleaning your house so that strangers can come and look at it.  Will they open the fridge and see all the food with mold on it?  Will they open the cabinets and see all the dirty dishes I didn’t have time to wash so I just hid them instead?  Will they look under the couch and see all the crap that I just swept under it?

–Sitting in the waiting room at gymnastics with two other parents while our girls are in class and having Littlest stop and scream, “I POTTY!” while she’s bending in the pooping stance.

The Awesome

–Selling enough stuff at the yard sale that we can pay off an entire credit card.  Sure, it was a card we probably should’ve never opened in the first place, but still.  Baby steps.

–Hearing Little call me “Mama” more than she calls me “Caitlin.”

–Putting Little in VBS this week at a church down the road from us.  She loves it so much at night she stays awake talking to her doll about all she learned and we stay awake listening to her on the baby monitor.  (Which is good, because she doesn’t tell us.)  And then this morning she wanted to look up her memory verse in my Bible and underline it so she wouldn’t forget.  We ended up reading the whole chapter (Psalm 54) and talked about what it meant verse by verse.

Us in July

I have a fantastic photo taken at the littlest’s 2nd birthday party.  It’s definitely one of those cheesy, quick-snapped, not edited, shows real life type of photos.  It was hot and humid and my clothes were picked out of the laundry hamper and sprayed with cologne and my hair was up in a bun.  And not a single girl was looking at the camera and both of them had hands in their mouths.  But it’s an oh so good photo.

But here’s the one you get to see.

Just pretend this is a family photo of us if we were kangaroos.

Just pretend this is a family photo of us if we were kangaroos.

In July:

Littlest turned 2 on the first!  So we threw her a party at the park. 

Gammer and Mawmaw left the day after the party.

We spent the fourth of July weekend in Maine with Grammy and Papa.  Little’s favorite part was mowing the lawn because she got to ride on the tractor with Papa.  Littlest’s favorite part was probably all the running around she could do in the backyard.  Swarley’s favorite part was the fact that he could hide under the couch and no one could find him.

After a couple months of praying and asking direction from God, we decided that fourth of July weekend that we would be moving to Texas.  And soon.

Little started gymnastics.  She goes once a week for 45 minutes.  I’m pretty sure I was way more nervousexcited than she was her first day.  And little girls in leotards walking on balance beams?  The cutest.

I read Steady Days and started getting used to motherhood.  As in, I no longer feel like I’m drowning, but instead I feel like I’m treading water.  And I got the best advice ever, from my grandmother.  After the third sleepless night and complaining about how tired I was she said, “Suck it up, buttercup, and get used to it.”  (my paraphrase.)  Honestly, anytime I get frustrated with not being able to take a day or sleep in, I just suck it up.

We had a yard sale with the sister-in-law and we made $57.  Which was impressive, being that most of it was originally gifted to us and we didn’t spend any money on it.

I started using cloth diapers.  I’ll admit, I think they’re so fun to use!  Even if they are a bit of work.

I started coming out of my fog and blogging more.

The husband a non-bloggable event happen.

Grammy bought us a tiny $8 blow up pool, and I think it was probably the best money ever spent.

We ate a salad with lettuce straight from the garden.  No strawberries though.  Something keeps eating them.

We stepped down from leadership at our church so that we could focus on our family and focus on our move.  It was a huuuuge, God-led step to take, but this new lack-of-commitment has already done us all some good.

We had our first and second date nights.  One to Tosca restaurant which we ate at for our 3rd anniversary.  One to Boston to see MFA’s Quilt Exhibit, which I totally loved but the husband did not.  And now I’m picking out actual patterns for my next quilt project.

We went to the tiny pond beach next door to us A LOT.

Weekending — Monsters Under the Bed

In an effort to practice more writing and less blogging (and to try to work up to that 1000 words a day goal that I wrote about and subsequently ignored) I’m going to start posting a writer’s style weekend recap on Mondays.  A post where I talk about my weekend at great length with lots of details on specific feelings and such, and less of a bulleted run-down with pictures in-between.  So, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But at the very least, I hope you appreciate it.

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I often wake up in the middle of the night now.  I guess I should put a disclaimer on that and say that ever since I got married I would often wake up in the middle of the night.  Those first few months of sleeping in our full size bed I woke up wondering why there was a boy in my bed and I couldn’t figure out what room I was in.  Then I started waking up because the husband would thrash about and smack me repeatedly in the face (at which point I told him it was a queen size bed or a divorce). 

But now, now I wake up in the middle of the night when there’s crying coming through our baby monitor.  More often than not the crying comes from the littlest, who is merely uncomfortable and she begins to whine.  So one of us trudges down the stairs to move her pillow off her face, or to unstick her from between the bed and her railing, or to untwist her from her blanket so she can roll over. 

Sometimes, though, the crying comes from this deep rooted pain. Terror echoes throughout the house at 1AM, 2AM, or fifteen minutes before the alarm is supposed to ring.  Those times the both of us shoot out of bed, racing each other down the stairs and bust down the door to see which of the monsters that live under the bed are wreaking havoc on our daughter’s sleep.  One of us lays with the little that’s asleep, so that she doesn’t wake up to the screams and become afraid herself; the other tries to comfort the tearful little by praying to her, stroking her head, rocking her in the chair.

I think it’s safe to say that I cherish late evenings, now that they’re few and far between.  I cherish those hours and minutes where it’s just me and the husband playing cards at the table or watching HIMYM on the laptop in our bed.  Sometimes we use that time to discuss everything about our days the last few weeks, or we discuss how God is moving in our lives, or what we love most about each other.  Sometimes we don’t talk at all and we just mindlessly watch one episode after another snuggled under a pile of blankets because our HVAC system is out of whack and our bedroom is the coldest now that we have to put on our AC at night so the girls don’t drown in their own sweat.

DSCN9458But no matter how the night goes, no matter how many times we get up throughout the night, no matter how many cokes I have to drink to get through the next morning, no matter how long the terror lasts or how long it took to get the little back to sleep, when that sunlight bursts through all our windows, it brings a promise of a new beginning and a fresh start.  It brings with it a promise of better things to come.

Best of all, it brings with it four sets of chubby cheeks that I can’t help but squeeze, and four wide-eyes that have forgotten the past few hours and are lit up with what the day will hold.  Two smiles that brighten my own day when I walk into their room, and two bellies full of laughter so loud and glorious, no monster under the bed could ever survive.

Currently

why yes, she is buckled in her booster seat watching a movie.  pick your battles, people.

why yes, she is buckled in her booster seat watching a movie. pick your battles, people.

listening to one child screaming, because she doesn’t want to go to bed, and “Let it Go” because the other child is watching Frozen for the billionth time (even though I hate that movie…)

thinking about how drastically my life has changed in the last few weeks, and how drastically it’s going to change in the upcoming months.  the frosts have quite the adventure coming up soon.

wondering how bad of a #momfail would it be if i also took a nap and let the 4 yr old take care of things? 

eating my kids’ leftover crumbs from their lunch.

praying about how to be a good mom to my kids, and how to potty train the oldest.  (any mom advice?  and by that i mean from moms who have also adopted.  sorry other moms, but it’s not the same.)

deciding to get rid of half my closet.  because i hate all my clothes and i’m ready for a change.  also, i’ll be getting rid of half my house, too. 

hoping for a big fat pepperoni pizza to appear on my doorstep that i can eat all by myself, because i’ve got too much #momguilt to feed my kids crap food.  well, to feed them more than what i already am…

looking forward to when the husband comes home.  we agreed (okay, i forced his hand) that i deserve 30 minutes to an hour to myself each night.  and tonight that’s going to be spent in a hot bubble bath with a good book and music playing just loud enough to drown out the screams from the downstairs.

struggling with patience–both with motherhood and with all the changes happening about.

looking at the mess of my room.  that’s what happens when i only get an hour and a half down time during the day, and i usually spend that watching Suits.

debating whether or not to get a BJs (bulk store) membership, because two tiny children are eating their weight in pirates’ booty and yogurt, and i’m tired of running to the grocery store every other day.

eager to get back to writing a little more full-timeish, whether on the blog or in my own journals, but i know now is not the right time.

loving that “full” feeling that’s slowly starting to fill me up.

Us in April + Update on my “One Little Word”

This isn’t actually my dedicated “Us in April” picture.  I snapped one of us and the foster kiddos in our pjs the night before they left, so when I make my “Us in 2014” booklet, that’s the one that I’ll be putting in.  But since it’s not really appropriate to paste foster kids faces all over social media, you get this one of us one the way to a wedding.  (I’m actually deathly sick in the pic, but luckily you can’t even tell.)

April was booked.

We helped a super awesome couple in our Life Group plan and put together their wedding.  And then we went to said wedding.

We hosted an appreciation party for our Setup/Teardown team at our church.  It was a hit, if I do say so myself.

I got a job!  I’m now a 7th grade English teacher. I’m filling in for the teacher who will be out through the end of the year. SO FUN.

I started planning a redo of our bedroom, and all the money from my instashop is funding the process.  I checked out a sewing book from the library (on a complete whim) and they had a pillow cover tutorial in it.  I picked out some fabric and BAM, the room was built.  In my head of course.  And I’m also working on re-creating this in my room.

I didn’t run a 5k.  Mostly because I got the dates all wrong, and mostly because I was deathly sick that week.  (It was the morning after the wedding.)  And when I had a complete panic attack/meltdown when I thought I had to run.  At least, I was panicking until the husband said that I didn’t have to do it.  So I didn’t.  I actually really want to do one now, since I had talked myself into doing it and I feel a little let down that I didn’t.  But we’ll see.

We had foster kids for the week!  It was so fun!  And so very sad to see them leave.  This foster mama got very weepy the night before they left.

Now that we’re one third of the way through the year, I thought I’d do a little update on my “one little word.”  At the end of the year, I really wanted to fell FULL.  I want a life FULL of God, of family, of happiness, of rest, of balance, of discipline, of contentedness.

But to be honest, 2014 has been systematically stripping me of everything inside.  Our car kept breaking down over and over, I had a baby then lost it, we had kids then had to give them back, and my entire mindset has been completely broken down my God.  The way I think about things, approach my life, approach my friends/family.  I’ve been emptying my house of all our junk (again).  I keep throwing out stuff both materially and figuratively.

And then I realized, before I could be filled with all this good stuff, God had to empty me out of all my other stuff.  How can I be full of happiness when I’m already full of cynicism?  How can I be full of rest when I’m already full of busy?  How can I be full of discipline when I’m already full of laziness?

I can’t say that I exactly appreciate the way God has emptied me.  I never expected to have a baby for just a week or kids for just a week.  I never expected to not have a car for a while.  Or to not have a washer/dryer for a long while.  Or to not have enough money to buy underwear.

But I also never expected to be feel so hopeful about the future, about my family, about my job.  I never expected to have foster kids, a bittersweet experience that I will always treasure.  And I certainly never expected to change the way I look at every tiny aspect of life.

So while I’m feeling a little empty, a little bereft, a little befuddled, I just know that this is the first step to feeling full, brimming, and running over.

Cheers to the next third of the year.

Life Lately

On going Paleo:

So far, so good.  We’re concentrating on breakfasts and dinners at the moment, and I’m already tired of eating scrambled eggs, so I’m trying to find breakfasts that don’t use eggs at all.  I’m also trying to find Paleo snack foods, since I eat lunch at 11:00 and dinner isn’t until 6:00.  My handy-dandy book says that I shouldn’t be snacking, but I don’t know who can go a whole 7 hours without being hungry.  I made these Cranberry Orange Muffins and they were delicious.  Next up are these Banana Breakfast Cookies and this Grain-Free German Apple Pancake.

My biggest realization so far?  How much grains and dairy I actually eat.   I was deluded into thinking that I was actually eating semi-healthy, and it turns out I so was not.  So if anything, going Paleo for 75% of the day is forcing me to up my veggie intake by about 23o32489384%.

On Adoption:

Our homestudy was approved!  And we’ve been matched with a few different sibling groups!  So far nothing has worked out, but I’m hopeful that this will be the month*

*I know I say that every month, but it’s because it’s true.  I really hope today will be the day, this week will be the week, and this month will be the month.

On the job:

Seventh graders are hard work.  Really.  I mean, I didn’t think it’d be easy, but their raging hormones and the fact that I’m a substitute and not their “real teacher” is driving me up the wall.  Some days I want to cry because I feel like a failure, other days I shout for joy because I finally got one of the too-cool-for-school kids to actually show interest and participate in an activity.  Mostly though I feel like repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

On books:

I’ve been re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  I started with Mockingjay, I finished The Hunger Games yesterday, and I started Catching Fire today.  I also reread Insurgent because it was on my teacher’s desk and I didn’t have anything else to do at the moment.

On the weekends:

I’m wicked busy over here with a mountain of a to-do list of things that I just have to have ready before future children arrive on our doorstep.  Which could be any day.  My sweet, cute, nesting phase of getting the house prim and proper and cute so that my children will love it and us has become a Clean All The Things! marathon to get my mind off of the fact that we have no children and any day they will be here.

I hosted a wedding shower for a sweet, new friend a couple weekends ago, and of all the parties I’ve thrown I really think this was my best yet.  It was cute and simple and she absolutely loved it.  Also, you can find that tissue tassel banner in the shop.

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On the shop:

If you didn’t see today’s earlier announcement, new things are up in the shop.  And we’ll be participating in a giveaway today/tomorrow.  So watch out for it so you can win something fun!

On the blog:

I’m taking a much more lax approach at this blog.  No more worrying about when I’m posting or having all seven days filled or having stuff up by 8am.  No more trying to develop content or revolving my life around the blog or checking my stats daily or working at it like it’s a job.  Instead, I’m trying to just go with the flow, and when I want to write, I write.  When I want to do more of a blog, it’s more of a blog-like post.  And when I don’t want to look at this dashboard at all, I don’t.  It’s a win win for us all, I think.