Sunday, December 28, 2014

Parenting problems

Being a parent of littles can be a lonely job at times. Josh was out for a few hours and it was just the kids and me at home. I didn't think taking the kids out in the germs would be a great idea. But I was getting antsy. I thought about inviting someone over, but by the time I went through my list, there wasn't anyone to call. Her was my list:

Someone I know and not busy

Someone with few or no kids that could fit in my house

Someone who I would not need to clean for...piles of presents and toys to be sorted, out grown clothes that need to be sorted and packed up, dishes, laundry, etc.

Someone in town or near

Someone not sick or family sick so my kids have a chance to keep fighting off the influenza

Someone who likes kids and would enjoy our company

Someone who would "help"/play with my kids to keep us all happy while hanging out

Now the reason I didn't call someone was my decision, based on my perceptions. I know they could easily be wrong, and were. But it is very easy to go through my list and feel alone. And I don't think I'm the only one who feels this I?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas thoughts

Mollie and Will can't quite make it 12 hours through the night so at about 5:00am every morning Will wakes to eat. Mollie is sometime after that. Usually Will eats and goes back to sleep for another hour but he most know it is Christmas. He is awake, crawling around. Since he's been awake, Mollie has been changed, fed, and put back to bed. Good girl;)

We have a small tree this year with lights up on an end table, as an attempt at baby proofing. There are a few signs of the season, but most are daycare projects. (We love Ms. Amy!) 

Working until the day before Christmas Eve was rough for me. I felt behind all of December having been out of town for Thanksgiving, so not having a day I catch up and get ready for Christmas left me a frazzled. So instead of getting worked up too much I simplified as best as I could. We have a tree with lights, daycare projects hung, lasagne and caprese salad for dinner last night, and baby socks for Mollie and Will. I'll shop the after Christmas sales for their stockings:)

We were also more intentional talking to Caleb about Jesus this year. I would tell him the Christmas story before bed, talk about Mary and Joseph getting ready for a baby, complete our advent calendars, etc. We must have done ok because Josh was wrapping presents for extended family on Sunday when Caleb walked up and asked, "What you doing Daddy?" He replied, "Wrapping presented." Caleb inquried, "For Jesus?" Josh had his aww moment:)

For Christmas Eve we open presents from family and each other. Christmas morning is just Santa gifts. It's not that I need the credit, but I prefer that Santa give stocking gifts, but Not ALL the presents. This way the kids know they got presents from their loved ones. Santa can be the toothbrush giver, some candy, and small presents. He's not the hero of this holiday; Jesus is. 

Merry Christmas! 

Thanksgiving & Ohio Family 2014

I love visiting our Ohio family! Josh grew up there but in high school his parents and siblings moved to MN. Josh has lived in MN longer than Ohio now, but he is still a Buckeye with a soft spot for the Gophers.

Josh and I value family and one way we have chosen to demonstrate that is to see and visit family that we can drive to in a day or so (sorry German loved ones; we'll get there someday!). We go to Ohio every other year since we've been married and we're considering going every year. We were also in Ohio our first Christmas as a married couple and have returned for Grandma Betty and Grandpa Richard's funerals, as well as my cousin Cheryl's wedding. My side of the family also has a presence in Ohio. My mom's sister, Tina, and her family have lived in Ohio for over 10 years. We swing by them near Dayton on nearly every trip or meet halfway between them and Josh's family in Butler, north of Columbus. We always stay with Grandma Norma, and what a treat that is. She is a fabulous cook, great to talk to, and an overall fabulous grandma who loves on her grand babies, and great-grand babies. 

This Thanksgiving was special because it was Mollie and Will's first time to Ohio and first time to meet all of the family that lives there! Great Grandma Norma immediately loved on those babies! She was so helpful with their bottle feedings and making sure Caleb got what food and things he needed. 

On Thanksgiving Day we celebrated at Aunt Penny's house. She and Uncle Larry added on to their farm house and have a beautiful kitchen and eating area for hosting the large Miller family! Josh's cousin Caroline also has twins, Addison and Annabell. They are two years old and so sweet! They were so good to the babies! Caleb was also a rockstar on this trip! He traveled so well! I can't believe how awesome he did for being THREE! 

This trip marked a few milestones for Mollie and Will! 
-Their first road trip beyond the Twin Cities. We drove through the night to get to Ohio for a total of 16 hours on the road. 
-We stopped for breakfast at their first Cracker Barrel.
-Both babies cut at least one tooth! Sleep was difficult and away from home when teething. Those top ones are coming through! 
-Will pulled to standing for the first time on Thanksgiving Day! 
-First time sleeping in a hotel. We stopped on the way back at a hotel for a pool so Caleb could go swimming!

This Thanksgiving we are so grateful for the many blessings God has graced us with this year! He has entrusted us with three amazing and healthy children! We are exhausted but filled with joy that these three are in our lives!! 

Friday, October 17, 2014


I think about writing on the blog at least twice a week, but sitting down in a front of a computer at home is rare, and at school it's all business. I used to blog on my phone or tablet, but even those moments are quick for checking email and facebook, and then moving on.

I have 3 children. Three marvelous children, ages 7 months-3 years. They are the best little people and biggest blessings in my life. I know I am biased, and I have every right to be. Spring boarding from a family of 3 to a family of 5 has not been easy to do, but we've been willing and in love every step of the way. This family would not be possible if Josh and I were not a team and on the same page. I'm so blessed to have Josh's support and love every day. Every single day! We've never spent a day mad...maybe a few hours at most(and that was before kids mostly), but we are lucky that our respect and love for each other always outweigh the argument.

I am in awe of Josh. I think he does so much for us, and I'm lucky he thinks the same thing about me. It makes his need to fish and "fill his tank" outdoors easier to understand and support. We're a team and we're only as good together as we are healthy and good apart. If we don't take care of our needs as individuals, which is easy to do in a busy household, we are not able to give the effort to our marriage and our family need. Josh gives me my nights out and I give him his day or weekend of fishing/hunting. It isn't always easy, but we understand those the needs.

It's October and we have hit a rhythm. Here's my typical work day:

5:15am - pump for 30+minutes. I check school email and write emails at this time. I may or may not go back to sleep depending on the babies. We are trying to keep them asleep until 6:15 or later, but they need a little help some mornings.
6:00am - first alarm goes off and I do usually hit snooze (lasts for 9 minutes). I didn't used to hit snooze, but my lack of sleep means I need a little extra time waking up.

6:35am - I am done showering and dressed so that I can start. or take over from Josh (he now showers), dressing and feeding babies their morning bottles (5oz). Then I gather my lunch and other materials for the day.
6:50am - I wake Caleb and get him dressed. While Caleb says good morning to the babies I finish packing my lunch, the babies daycare bag with the clean cloth diapers, and pumped milk. Then Caleb snuggle on the couch for a few minutes until Josh is about dressed and coming downstairs at 7:10. Then we all get coats and shoes on, babies in carseats, and all three children loaded in the truck. Josh pulls out about 7:15 or 7:20am to take the kids to daycare, and I lock the door and pull out after him.

I get to school usually about 7:25am, some morning earlier if we are on the ball at home. I drop my lunch off in the office and walk upstairs to turn on my computer. While things boot up I write the Morning Message to my class, make copies if needed, and then check email to see if there are any new morning messages from students' families or staff. Somehow there is always plenty to do during this time.

8:00 students arrive and I am "on" for the day. I don't know how to give less than 100% when I teach. I am all in. My prep is before lunch, during which I pump. While I am stuck to my desk during this time I try to be organized and have all the materials I need to prepare and look over at my desk. If I don't, my time after pumping is quite frantic and rushed. Even if I am prepared, I am rushed. On Monday's I always pump again during lunch because I have an early prep and can't make it to the end of the day. Otherwise Tuesday-Friday I do actually have lunch with the staff. I usually make a few copies or have a few things written on a post-it I need to grab from a storage room or supply cabinet.

I have my students all afternoon without a break from 11:40am-2:35. Everyday we end the day reviewing the highlights of the day in a circle. Then we huddle in and on three say our class cheer. Every other month I am either on door duty (supervise car pick up) or bus duty (supervise and make sure kids get to the bus). Then by 3:00 I am back at my desk checking email, pumping, and perhaps making parent phone calls to check in.  Unless of course there are meetings and I have to rearrange that pumping and prep time. From 3:30-4:15 I am usually free to gather materials, make copies, and get things ready for the next day. At 4:15 I pack up, grab my pumped milk from the fridge and drive 7 minutes to daycare. I pick up my children around 4:35. Caleb greets me with an enthusiastic, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" and hug nearly every day. He pulls me to show me whatever he is playing with inside or out. Then I read the note about Caleb's day on the door for parents, and next I read about Mollie and Will's day on the counter, letting me know when they ate, pooped, slept and played:) We usually have a great day, with naps occasionally being off. I make at least two trips to the car to get everyone buckled in and to bring home the empty milk bottles and dirty cloth diapers.

We get home usually at 5:00 and Josh usually is home minutes before us. He usually helps carry everyone in and sometimes Will and Mollie are taking a cat nap from the lulling 5 minute drive home. We let them sleep for a bit if that's the case, and then we unload them and stack the carseats. Josh and I update each other on our day, and ask Caleb about his. We change diapers and throw a load of them in the wash. At about 5:30 I prep and feed the babies their solids, followed by a bottle while Josh makes the rest of us dinner. We all have usually eaten by 6:15 and then play for the next hour. I usually pump at 6:30pm. Shortly after 7:00 babies get PJs on and a bottle. They are in their cribs by 7:30. Then Caleb gets 30 minutes with us alone. Usually it involves puzzles, blocks, and books. Maybe some iPad time if we've "had a day" and are just all wanting to snuggle.

We are blessed; my mom comes almost every Wednesday to help out and love on her grand babies. By the time I get home the living room is vacuumed, usually a few other rooms as well. Laundry is folded and/or a load is going in the washer and recycling is all flattened/crushed and in the outside bin. She stays to help with bath time, which is always an assembly line. Just one more set of hands, and a 1 to 1 ratio for 3 hours makes life so much easier! Thanks Oma! 

Josh and I take turns putting Caleb to sleep at 8:00pm. If it's my turn it includes 5-10 minutes of snuggling in bed. I'll take every opportunity to snuggle I can. There's lots of kisses and hugs, and our bedtime prayers.

After Caleb is asleep we are beat. We usually watch something we've recorded. We get the things done that must get done (a load of laundry, dishes, toys picked up somewhat, etc) and then I pump at 9:30pm or 10:00pn. After pumping I wash dishes from dinner if I haven't already and my pumping dishes. We head to bed and I am happy if the clock does not say 11:00pm.

At least once per baby we usually have to go stick a Nuk back in during our night's sleep, but sometimes they treat us to a quiet night. Teeth throw a curve ball in there too, and some nights are not so pleasant. But we usually find the trick and get babies calm, if not asleep, within a handful of minutes. Abd at 5:00am my alarm sounds again...starting the next day.

Throw in a run to the grocery store at least once during the week, a meeting or obligation, as well as maybe a kidless trip to somewhere for a bit of time turned "off." Once a month I have book club and once a month I have Multiple Blessings, a support group of moms of multiples.

I write this down to not evoke pity or to whine, but rather feel accomplished. Josh and I do this Monday-Friday with love and a sense of pride in our jobs and family. We know we aren't perfect. There are times we scrape by, and others where we throw in a great family walk, a drive to visit someone with all 5 of us, or even eat at a restaurant! We don't do that though unless we are with more adults than children. :)

We're on a strict budget so we find fun in the small things and deals. We take pictures and videos of our kids milestones and we whisper over Caleb's head about cute things he says and does. At night we enjoy a show together and kiss goodnight.

Every day is a gift and I am grateful....I am also exhausted. This is a phase, a sleepless phase.

Fall colors

We took a family photo shoot at Indian Lake near Mt Kato. I took a few but then Josh took over. I then edited and we have some great shots of the kids. It was impossible to get all three kids looking and not eating leaves, but it gave us the giggles:)

Back at work

First off, babies are doing great at daycare. They have adjusted so well and we know they are getting wonderful care from Amy. Caleb loves them there and is quick to tell anyone they are his babies!

I'm back teaching after a long break. I went on bedrest in the middle of January and have not taught since. I did a few tutoring sessions, but nothing in the classroom. It's a lot like riding a bike and you just get right back in the saddle. However, teaching with three kids to care for at home means every minute counts every where. I pump and work at my desk during my prep and after school. When I'm not tethered I'm running around, gathering materials needed for lessons and making copies. It is constant motion. It was like this before, but it's more intense now because if I bring work home, it is not likely to get done like it did before.

When I'm home I'm rotating baths, loads of laundry, and cutting finger and toenails. Luckily Josh has taken over much of supper preparation as my brain is loaded to the max. We're playing games with Caleb, and trying to make memories of giggles and happiness with our children. It's combination of intentional activity with a few breaks to just rest. When we finally head to bed it takes us no time to fall asleep. I'm not complaining, I'm just describing our new normal. It's full of blessings, challenges, and a necessity for a sense of humor. We love our kids, each other, and the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.

But I have never worked so hard in my life. Period.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

July 20 week

My 5 month olds are pretty sweet! The interaction is growing and so fun too watch!

Great Grandpa and Uroma Harjes came for a visit. Grandpa Bill and Will had some bonding time:-) Caleb loved reading with Great Grandpa and then showed him his toys. The train set is a big hit!

Caleb went to the dentist for the first time and had a great report. He let them count his teeth and poke a bit to check everything but he did NOT like the powered toothbrush. We'll try again next time. They weren't worried; all 20 teeth looked great!