I'm not sure when or how my life became so full. It seems like just yesterday that I was jogging around Beaverton with a friend, who had three children at the time, and listening to her talk about her hectic, noisy household. Since I only had a small Zach in my care, her comments were incomprehensible to me. A loud house? No time to vacuum? Always in the car? What?
Well, I get it now. Ten years later, I am either running or I am asleep. I don't spend as much time running for exercise as I would like (I have an issue with my knee right now), but it seems I am always in a hurry. Our morning school schedule is crazy. Then it often happens that I am out all morning, between taking Zach from middle to elementary school, dropping off Lexi for preschool, running errands, visiting teaching (for which I must find childcare), attending church meetings, or going to a medical appointment or shopping or serving of some sort. Then it's preschool pickup time, or home to receive Gavin after preschool, and then lunch and a little cleaning or more errands before nap time.
I can't decide if I'll be sad or glad when Kate gives up napping. Of course I love the break each afternoon, and she certainly needs the sleep. But instead or relaxing myself, or spending the time engaged in a project or studying for a lesson, or working on Young Women stuff, or blogging, for heaven's sake, I am mostly just trying to keep Gavin and Lexi quiet enough that they don't wake up Kate! While I do enjoy playing with them, I think they are plenty old enough to entertain themselves quietly for 90 minutes. They think otherwise. Sometimes during nap time I collapse on the couch or in my bed because I'm just.so.tired. Getting up early to exercise takes its toll in the sleep department. I absolutely love--and need--to have my gym time each morning. I don't feel complete without it, especially because that is often my scripture/Conference/study time for the day, and my days are invariably better when I take the time to exercise my lungs and my mind and my soul before jumping into the day at home. But I'm really tired. And whenever I nap, I wake up to some kind of mess or trauma. I usually regret napping, even on days when I am desperate for sleep.
After school there is homework and piano practice and a few chores for the kids. On Wednesday Lexi takes ballet lessons. On Thursdays Tyler takes art lessons. At least every couple of weeks I make sure to fit in the boys' piano lessons (I know, I know...it should be more often). One Thursday evening our family had four places to be at the exact same time. We picked two. Until last week, Tyler and Zach had basketball practice in the evening. We just finished basketball season, and I am relieved. Garry is probably more relieved than I am, since he largely handled Saturday morning games. I participate in a church choir that is preparing a beautiful choral/instrumental program for Easter weekend (you should come!). Practices are from 9-11 on Saturday mornings, and while it has been a sacrifice for all of my family members, that is sacred time for me. I love it and I need it, and I will really miss it when it's over in a couple of weeks. Then it will be soccer season.
And then there are Sundays. Sundays are supposed to be days of rest, right? Hahahahahaha....! Last week, I had a meeting at 7:00 a.m., followed by three hours of church, followed by a song practice. During church, Garry was home with a sick Kate, and Gavin did this for about 90 minutes:
Awesome. I love belonging to and serving for my church, but the lifestyle sure is busy.
Of course my mind is often occupied with the needs and concerns of my children. Zach is firmly entrenched in the tween years, where he is opposed to bathing and deodorant but obsessed with his hair and his clothes. I worry a lot about his friends at school, his resistance to church attendance, and his general defiance and attitude. He is getting old enough to stay home with the rest of the kids for short stretches of time (longer if I take one of the Littles or if Kate is napping), so that shows some responsibility and maturity that I like to see. He loves Boy Scouts and works hard (and has fun) at the weekly meetings. Tyler is generally happy, he loves the privacy and freedom of having his own bedroom, really likes school, and has a best friend in our ward who I love. He is thriving on the piano (and would even more if I was a better teacher). But he has severe Little Brother Syndrome, picks fights with siblings for no reason, and generally craves more attention than I can give him. I often worry about his emotional well-being. Gavin is always a concern. Is he watching too much TV? Getting enough cuddle/love/attention time? Are his fine motor skills falling behind? Is his place as the middle child the source of his craziness? Will he EVER stop sneaking food and leaving a mess behind him? Lexi has started crying/clinging when she goes to preschool, a friend's house, the YMCA, and her Primary class. What is that about? How can I help? Should I give in to her emotional manipulation? Her eczema is getting out of control again, and she's had a crazy rash and bouts of hives again this week. She also had two bad ear infections recently. We are all tired of medicine around here. Kate is equal parts charming and exasperating. She climbs on EVERYTHING. She gets into EVERYTHING. She never, ever sits still. But I love seeing her curiosity and her energy. She is starting to talk a little more ("no" and "mine" are now prominent words), and that is lots of fun. She's a major Daddy's girl. That's cute...and hard.
So of course the kids are a big source of my busy life. Sometimes I struggle to pause and savor the moment. I have a running joke with a friend about losing my keys. Whenever they are missing, I send her a text about it. She guesses where they will turn up, and then I report the hiding place. During the latest episode she offered some advice: SLOW DOWN. Yeah, I know! I did take the little kids to the park the other day and captured one moment in time that made me really happy. Doesn't she look like bliss personified?
Garry is the workhorse of the family. He does everything--working and cooking and clean-up and bedtime and playing and grocery shopping and the finances and all things IT for our household (and sometimes our friends). I really don't know what I'd do without him, which is why my recurring dream that I'll be a young widow is freaking me out.
I am mostly doing better in the mental health department. It's a nice change for everyone! I'm figuring out what I like and who I like and how to be a friend and a mom and a wife again and how to balance my responsibilities. I know that my challenges are not unique. Everyone is busy with their own stuff, and everyone experiences heartache, and everyone has good days and bad days, and most members of my church feel the same joys and stresses I do related to their testimonies and callings. It's all good. I love my life and my family and where we live and what I'm doing. It's just BUSY. And I need new glasses. I might get some red ones. Aren't theses picture funny?
So my house is a mess and my laundry is never done and I eat too much chocolate and I don't follow up on all the good thoughts I have and feel perpetually behind in everything I do. I rarely blog anymore, and that makes me sad for a number of reasons. I miss it, and I miss you, my online friends. So here I am, saying hello. I'm not sure when I'll be back, but I'll be thinking of you. And my to-do list.