Wednesday, May 26, 2010

six month biscuits

six months seems to be a good marker for kids. they have finally exited the newborn stage, can hold a toy or two, flirting with solid foods, but still have the innocence of a new baby. tali is just past six months old, and seriously i tell her almost daily that i want to fold her back up and put her in my tummy just to freeze time. i CANNOT get enough of her. she really is scrumptious.

back when oz turned six months, i put this post up. looking at them then and looking at them now is crazy. back then i thought they looked pretty different... today they undoubtedly look like brother and sister. since they have been about the same height for a year now, i get asked almost daily if they are twins. when t hit the scene people tried to say she looked different. now that she's six months, how bout you guys weigh in?

and then i saw these similarities...

i think the biggest thing we can take from these last few pictures is that with three kids, we've had to make some sacrifices... bottles to cans... we do what we gotta do to put beer food on the table.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

tightropes are slippery

if this is your first time reading this blog, you should definitely click on the column on the right... i promise i'm not always this crazy...

but its been one of THOSE weeks days... you know the ones.

my life is pretty good. sometimes it feels like its too good. chris calls it common grace, and honestly i like that approach rather than thinking its so good that something bad is bound to happen.

last mothers day we had brunch at robins in cambria. there were lots of little kids around having breakfast with their families. we were no exception, but for once our kids were surprisingly decent. in fact as i watched a little 14 month old toddle around picking up food off the ground being chased by his dad, i actually had just a twinge of nostalgia (forgetting of course that that will be us again in 6 short months). but still, i rarely wish my kids would stay little, so it was somewhat noteworthy for me.

then the next day it all came crashing down. i felt crazy dealing with the kids all day. i ignored, i threatened, i cried, yet nothing seemed to work. they fight, they hit, and we all feel just plain ugly.

i realized a few weeks back that when i have days like that its usually because i am at home more than usual, and i'm trying to accomplish other things. imagine that-- a stay at home mom actually trying to do something else!
and that's when it hit me- the hardest thing about being a stay at home mom is trying to do anything else.

i guess i'm realizing that the kids are still so young... they are not only emotionally demanding (never goes away i'm told) but also physically. that, in combination of being up so much nursing the baby, and being 'on' for the older ones all day, by the time 2 rolls around, i need a serious break. however, since they don't nap anymore, most days i feel like i want to break windows.

i don't want to sound ungrateful. i love being able to stay at home. its an honor and a privilege, and i wouldn't have it any other way. but so much time with the kids can began to consume me so much, that i worry its beginning to define me.

and honestly, that scares the crap out of me. i can't, i won't become one of those moms so wrapped up in their kids lives that one day i wake up and they are gone, and i can't remember who i am.

what kind of music i like (actually i don't even know that now), what my hobbies are? my passions? who and where my husband and friends are? i liken it to breaking up with the high school boyfriend and wondering who you are... you hear yourself ask yourself questions like i really do like blink 182 right?

3 kids is hard.

its hard not being able to meet all their needs. its hard wrestling with the guilt of loosing it on them. its hard when you don't feel like they hear anything you say. i want to be a great mom, but there is so much more i want to do.

i want to make running grrrl's great. i want the time to answer emails, and organize runs and reach out to the community. i want to have a joyful heart in hosting the bible study at my house for my dear girls on monday nights. i want to notice when my husband gets a haircut, or remember my good friends birthdays.

i want to write.

i really want to write. i want this blog to be great, and a place where people can laugh and cry and maybe have a bowel movement... whatever. i just want more and i want to do it without it being at the expense of my kids.

balance has never been as hard as it is right now. time feels so elusive and so very sacred. i know i'm not alone in this, and for that i am so thankful. we all have our own unique struggles and today, now you know mine. thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

when therapists can't help you...


elevators seriously used to make me crazy. from about age 6-12 i'd almost have a panic attack if i had to go in one. due to the fact that my parents were going through a divorce around that time, i was graced with countless hours in a therapists chair. i got to draw lots of pictures of how i felt, and what i wanted my family to look like... and then one day she asked me if there was anything else i would like to talk about. as she likely braced herself for some profound confession of abuse or teary admission of sin, i simply looked at her and said 'elevators.'


'yes, i'm terribly scared to go in elevators. not just like claustrophobic scared, but like i'm almost positive that if i step inside one i will get trapped and it will just so happen to be in the twin towers and airplanes will come crash into them (premonition?)'
so maybe i didn't say it exactly like that, but in my mind that was definitely what was going to happen.

she listened carefully as i told her about all the hysteria surrounding elevators for me. after giving me some line about how its a metaphor for how i feel trapped by my parents separation... she quickly realized that this was the kinda situation that no amount of xanax could help.

soooo like any good psychologist she told me she would have some ideas on how to fix this next time we meet (cuz who the hell teaches you in school how to counsel a 10 yr old kid on overcoming elevator fears-- this was clearly going to take some deep research).

fortunately for me riding in elevators was not part of my daily living. but i tell you what, the day i walked out of her office, i had the utmost confidence that my problem would quickly be solved. that whole week i avoided them at all costs, which wasn't hard cuz growing up in SLO there was like maybe 6 in the whole city.

tuesday rolled around and i took my seat in that stiff wicker chair and awaited my instructions.

...(cue soothing therapist voice) 'so, holly, after what we talked about last week i was thinking it would be a good idea to discuss some solutions to your fear of riding in elevators. (pause for effect) i don't know if you know this, but (drum roll) all elevators have inside them a certificate of inspection. its standard, and once you step inside (hello that's the problem biaatch) you can always read the certificate to insure that it has been properly inspected and cleared for use by a certified elevator inspector. finding this paper in the elevator will allow you to have the peace of mind knowing that nothing will go wrong on your short ride to the second floor (big smile)'

really? is someone really paying you for this? cuz that advice seriously sucked.

the happy ending (no thanks to her) is that i'm now 30 and have overcome my fear of elevators. this may or may not be because i grew up and married a a man who is an engineer, then birthed his son who is apparently wired just like him and has enabled me to spend countless hours in elevators cuz that's pretty much his favorite thing to do. whatever the case, these days there's no elevator to small, shaky or tall for me. i'm happy to say i am more than a conqueror... with no thanks to some shady, wrinkly notice of inspection.

with that said, this week i want to know...

'what fear have you outgrown?'

Monday, May 3, 2010

matthew patrick

i've always wanted a big family.

the bulk of my childhood was just me and my mom. i know God makes no mistakes, and the time we had together truly was priceless. my mom and i have a bond and an intimacy like very few. its something that sustains and encourages me on a daily basis, and for that i am eternally grateful. however i can't help but wonder sometimes what it would have been like if my parents had stayed married and i got to re-capture those formative years with a sibling...

not just any sibling, but my only sibling...

my brother matt is seven years older than me. when our parents divorced, i was eight and matt was fifteen. he went to live with my dad and i stayed with my mom. but regardless of the divorce, our age difference was so vast that we never really stood a chance to connect in our youth anyway. while he was shaving his head and 'cruising for chicks' i was playing with care bears and kittens, and as he smoked his first joint, i got to drink my first soda pop. his idea of bonding was a solid punch in the arm or flicking boogers at me. in its plainest form, i had nothing to offer. and honestly, with the age and gender gap, i wasn't even sure what to think or do with him. and then before i knew it, he left SLO all together and what little contact we had pretty much vanished.

with that said, i do have quite a few memories of him in those years. matt has always pushed the limits... whether its playing with matches one to many times and lighting our whole backyard on fire, or taking me for rides on his motorcycle with no helmet...

if i had to sum it up, my brother was cool.

not like jonas brother's cool, but like john bender from breakfast club cool. he played hard, and partied even harder. after he left SLO i know very little about his years in colorado and florida. the few stories i have heard, don't even rival me on my wildest night.

however, time has a way of giving us back what we lost, cuz after 2 pitiful years at UCSC i came back to SLO and moved into a little house on church street with my mom. not 2 months later my brother landed back home in one piece ready to get his s*it together. he began his academic journey at cuesta. even though it took him a little bit longer than some of us to get back to school, once he did take the plunge, he really found his calling-- a calling that has landed him his own incredibly successful consulting firm at the young age of 35.

our time on church street really allowed us to get re-acquainted. it was an incredibly formative time for myself as i was exiting a grueling 3 yr relationship with my high school boyfriend and trying to find myself again. it wasn't long before i quit pinching from his stash and turned in the ol peace pipe for a bible. i'm sure it was incredibly confusing for him to watch what little ground we had gained be lost in his mind, as i launched into a world he knew little about.

as our time on church street ended and matt made his way to the heart of the redwoods to finish his schooling, the distance came upon us again. this time not due to age or gender, but simply due to proximity. now adults, we talked on the phone every so often, but it wasn't until he got married and had his first child that i feel like things really changed.

my brother scored. he married an amazing woman. someone who is able and willingly to love him un-conditionally... and if that wasn't enough god gave them an absolutely delightful little girl. since my sister in law is a teacher and my brother's consulting firms season is the summer, it enabled him to be almost a full-time stay at home dad. with him being at home, he began calling me all the time. it was awesome. we'd talk about everything... parenting, god, marriage, drugs-- nothing was off limits. i felt like we connected on a whole new level, and an intimacy was forged between us that i know cannot be altered.

in this time i got to know my brother again. there really is so much to love. the guy is first of all hilarious- like most of us on the richmond side. b always trips out on how weird and funny we all are when we get together. but like his funny side, matt has a real sensitive side as well. we often joke that he's like mom and i'm like our dad. quick example- when the swine flu hysteria hit, both of them bought their masks on the first day and stocked their pantry's for the impending epidemic, while my dad and i sat back and watched the hysteria die. matt was the first person to ever tell me why i should eat organic, and why i should care about the earth. he's not just green like trader joe's or new frontiers, he's green like food co-op's and bags of weird herbs (yes that one too) and grains. recently when he came to visit he was taking shots of clay every morning. yes clay, like in pottery class clay people. he was the first to tell me about pork parasites and the mucoid plaque, and the first to love me enough to tell my why all of this matters and not just shout it in my face.

as my kids get older, i finally get to see their small age gap working in my favor... though they fight like banchi's, they love just as hard. i see lily guiding and encouraging oz, and i see oz helping lily to break away from her dolls and polly pockets and cut loose with thomas or crash monster trucks together. the other day i was wasting copious amounts of time on fb paying bills and i heard lily and oz in their room playing trains. it was so sweet to hear their little imaginative train voices as they created scenarios on the island of sodor. i felt such a longing, and just a twinge of envy as i realized that i missed so many years of that with my own brother. but then i remembered that god heals us in time, and now i have in a brother more than i ever could have imagined...

so on your 38th birthday matt, i want you to know, i love you more than ever. and i am so thankful that God gave me you as my one and only sibling.