Wednesday, May 20th, 2015…

Good Day-4Was a good day.Good Day Good Day-2 IMG_2853 Good Day-3 IMG_2844 Good Day-8 Good Day-7 Good Day-5 Good Day-6

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Three Reasons to Celebrate

Mothers Day-4Mothers Day-2Mothers Day-3 Mothers Day-6 Mothers Day-7Happy Mother’s Day to me (and to all the other Mamas too)!

Mothers Day

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How He Shows Me

I’m going to deviate from the normal Monday {Wordless Weekend} post for a bit, and use a lot of words today.

Because, this guy.RoadTrip-6

If you aren’t into posts that expound upon the awesomeness of someone’s spouse, I’ll understand if you check back a different day.

But you should think about sticking around, because I really want you to know how amazing he is.

There’s a lot of travel coming up in the immediate future. I won’t go into detail, because a public blog is probably not the best place to explain exactly when the man of the house will or will not be absent. But, let’s leave it at: too much.

So, what did this Eagle-Scout-Engineer husband of mine do when he realized I would be solo parenting our family? Made sure I was absolutely, positively prepared.

And in such a way that is specific to me. To my needs.

Guys, it’s like he knows me or something.

Exhibit A:DSC_1989

That is a magnetic rack sitting above our kitchen sink. That is my phone (which he also bought me several months ago) attached to it, ready to display my Netflix queue, podcast list, Pandora station…you name it.

This is a game-changer, my friends. I really, really dislike (hate?) doing the dishes. I really, really like (love?) watching movies. With their powers combined, the dishes might just get done every day.

Next to the phone, you’ll see a tool. It’s not just any tool, Andy calls it my Woman tool (pronounced Woah-Man). It’s a personalized skele-tool from Leatherman.DSC_1990

It says “Caitlin’s Helper”.

It’s now within reach for any time I might need pliers, screwdriver, bottle opener, or a very sharp knife (if you haven’t read this post from 5 Kids is a lot of Kids, please, please do. Her words about a Mama’s Heart will have you laughing till you cry, and you will absolutely understand why a Mama may need easy access to a knife. Especially in the middle of the night).

Notice, both of these things are now absolutely out of my children’s reach. Good thing, too. Because this: IMG_2418

And this:DSC_0885

And this:IMG_1832

And this too:IMG_7464

Andy also supplied the magnetic iPhone case that makes this possible. He then proceeded to mount a magnet in the Swagger Wagon so I will no longer frantically look down at my lap while trying to navigate and drive at the same time. That usually results in me knocking the phone off my legs just as I make the turn into a neighborhood I don’t know. Commence The Mommy Flail: that disastrous, one-handed driving, as I simultaneously try to reach something on the floor and not swerve into oncoming traffic. Also used in cases such as “The baby won’t stop screaming and just chucked her binki.”

Maybe the car mount was more a gift with my children’s safety in mind than for my peace of mind…

Andy also spent many night hours (with the help of some friends, Thank you Jen, Dan and Kevin!) building this in the garage and moving it to the front yard.IMG_7765

There’s a story here, for another time, but if anyone was at the East Vancouver Costco recently and saw some desperate looking people trying to fit three THOUSAND tiny wood pieces into their van because the whole box did NOT fit and unpacking the box in the parking lot to try and pack the pieces around some hungry screaming children seemed like a good idea, well, those poor, poor people. I bet they needed a beer. Or three. I’m sure they would have been plenty enough sober by the time they FINALLY left the parking lot.

Anyway. I need to be outside. I need it every day. And the front yard garden is a good place to get that outside time. I also need to know my children will not run into the street while we are outside (like I said, front yard garden). This little cottage should keep them occupied (and a proper distance from vehicles) for approximately…forever. They LOVE it.

Maybe you noticed that the yard was nicely trimmed in the above picture. This is because Andy also purchased me a Weed Whacker! Happy early Mother’s Day to me! As has been shown in the past, I’m kind of a fan of power tools:IMG_6182I’m also a big fan of surprises.

Our front yard garden is great! Except, trying to mow close enough to the boxes to keep the grass down is kind of impossible. We already look like a bunch of dirty hippies with our Escape Chicken walking around (we have no idea how she does it…),IMG_1632 and it was stressing me out that the front yard looked so unkempt. (I’ve forsaken the backyard, see the above bamboo and chainsaw picture). Boom! Weed whacker, which he slyly picked up on a pizza run. “Sorry Love! There’s a crazy long line at Papa Murphy’s! I’ll be home soon as I can.” Sneaky, sneaky husband.

Lest you think my only love language is “receiving gifts,” you should know there are a hundred other intangible things he’s done in the last week. Big things like watching the kids while I took photos of this precious New One:DSC_1618

And little things, like getting up first with the kids (OK, that’s also a big thing).

Corey puts it this way, I won the husband lottery…

But it’s also more. That implies a certain amount of distance and uncertainty in our relationship. That good and bad, love and separation, are left to chance.

That is absolutely not how we work.

He knows me; he loves me.

And, he shows me how much he loves me by knowing me so well.

I mean, a weed whacker doesn’t scream I LOVE YOU to everyone.

But it does to me.

Being apart is still the worst, but I won’t be able to walk through the kitchen or be in the garden without being reminded of his love.

And that makes him seem just a little less far away. IMG_1867

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Sometimes, I Choose Wrong

DSC_1556Here are three minutes of my morning yesterday:

Ok. Got a load of laundry started! Excellent! Today is going to be great! Let’s start unloading the dishwash… “ooooOOooo! Lulu! Put the curtain back!” Who said that? What’s going on? Walk to the bathroom. “Lulu! Out of there! Auntie Corey is showering!” “I have go poop!” “Ok, Love. Go ahead. Corey I’ll come right back to wipe.” Shut the door. Ok, turn on some good music, let’s stay happy! Back to the dishwa…“Whooooah! Whooooah! Whoah!”What? Walk to the living room. “Mo! What did I tell you about spinning circles on the hard floor?” Grab her arm, quick before she faceplants. “Sit down until you’re not dizzy.” “Ehhhh….Waaaaah!” Is that Dom crying? Doesn’t sound like he’s really in trouble. Grab a sip of coffee. Probably just wants Lulu’s toy. “Mommy! Mommy! I done!” Oh! That’s right! Lulu’s in the bathroom. “Waaaaaaahhhh!” Gotta wipe Lulu then check on Dom Dom. Put one dish in the cupboard. Walk to bathroom. Open door. “Ok Lulu. All done. Please wash your hands, and shut the door.”  “WaaaAAAaaahh” Dom, you’ll just have to wait a second, I’ve got to take these 4 day old wet washcloths straight to the washer, they are so musty! “Mom, can you read me this book?” “Not right now sweetie.” Walk back to the other side of the house. What? I never started the drier! Two loads of wet laundry? Again?! Arg! {kick the washer} Why can’t I ever do this right!? What is wrong with me. I’m sure other Moms can handle all this day to day stuff. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to prioritize and choose what to…“MOM! How do you spell Wonder Woman?” “W.O…” “W.O?” “Yes, W.O. and then N. D…” “Waaaaaah waaahhh” Dom! Walking quickly down the hall. I’m sure he’s fine. But he did just get those shots and has that weird rash. His nose has been running lately, I think those molars are finally…bathroom door is open?! “Lulu! I told you to wash your hands and get out of the bathroom. Auntie Corey wants to finish her shower!” Grab her hands, wash the 3 cups of soap off. Dry them. Bodily remove her from the bathroom. “Sorry Corey! We’re both leaving now. I’ll make sure the door’s shut. Maybe the bathroom will heat back up before you get out…” sniff sniff  “Want me to turn on the fan too?” “WAAAAAHHHH AHHHHH!!!” DOM! running to the kiddo room. “OH NO! Dom Dom! I’m so sorry, baby. If I had known what happened, I would have come right away!”

DSC_1514Dom had wedged himself behind and under the rocking chair in the kids’ bedroom. He loves to play with the electric outlets back there, so we put the chair in his way. He’s one determined little boy. He wasn’t hurt, but he was genuinely scared. I saw it in his eyes and in the real tears on his face.

There were many times I could have checked on him instead of doing something else. Every moment I’m constantly prioritizing, choosing what to do next. I do my best to prevent injury first and from there promote health and learning and independence.

But, sometimes I choose wrong.

And it sucks.

Because no matter how hard I try, I know it will happen again.

Because no matter what I do, my kiddos will get hurt. Will be hurt. Will hurt others. And, the truth is, that some of those hurts will be the result of my wrong choices. And some days that guilt weighs heavily.

Then I pull my screaming 1 year old out of his confinement, and he stops crying. He grips my arms in his little hands and cuddles my neck. His head hiccups off my collar bone as his sobs turn back to breathing.

And once he lifts his head to look at me, I know that I am forgiven.

I know that all through this parenting journey, I will be forgiven, over and over and over. I whisper a quiet thank you into the top of his head.

And the guilt lifts.

I move forward with my day, trying again to choose what’s best.

Knowing that, depending on my choices, I might just need a new round of that forgiveness every three minutes.

DSC_1555

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Wordless (All the Parties!) Weekend

Baby shower-9 Baby shower Baby shower-4 Baby shower-2 Baby shower-8 Baby shower-3Baby shower-5Baby shower-7Baby shower-6

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Kids Say…

Sometimes I forget Lulu is not even three yet:
“Lucia, take your fingers out of your mouth. There are germs under your fingernails…blah de blah, long scientific explanation of microbiology…”
“But germs are yummy! HA HA HA!”

Kids Say-4“Lucia, I’m pretty sure you’re big enough to do this,” Me, trying to get her to do something menial.
Devilish look, “Maybe not.”

But then she’ll be so literal…
M0 finishing up a strange joke, “…and then the baby was in the oven! HA HA HA!”
Lu, “NO Mo! No say baby in oven! Oven is hot!”

Lu calls her sister “Monka” which I love, and I know won’t last forever, but it’s so perfect to hear them talking (yelling) back and forth, “BABY LU?!”  “MONKA?! Where you are MONKA!?”

Kids SayMo, “Jessie said our flowergirl dresses have to be orange and poofy.”
Lu, “I don’t want one. I want dinosaur one.”

It is one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood to watch a child’s world expand. In little ways (like learning where worms live) and in big ways, like last night:
We were talking about all the people we love (Mama! Daddy! Auntie Corey!), and I saw Lulu’s eyes go wide as she contributed, “I love…the whole people…The whole people in the whole world!”

Monica is as delightful as ever. Her almost-five-year-old brain just blows me away, and often cracks me up:
Dominic recently face-planted off the one step in our house, between the kitchen and the playroom.
As I was hurrying towards him from the living room, I saw Mo run towards him from the opposite direction. She threw up her hands and exclaimed, “How did we not see this coming?!”

Kids Say-3“Baby Lu, hold still. We have to see if you can do jumping jacks while I hold your feet…”

Kids Say-2“Monica, do you want to be a firefighter women when you grow up?”
With a horrified look, “No! No I do not! I just want to be myself!”

And this one’s for you Jess: as Mo looks down at her belly button, “Mommy, why did Jessie take her ladder out?”

Kids Say-5Dom, you’re saying words! Kind of.

Well, you hiss at the cats. So that counts as a word. You love the ceiling fan and make a “ffff” sound when you point to it.
You sign “more” by clapping. Express joy by clapping, and sometimes clap your hands in frustration.
Kids Say-6You also clasp your hands together in prayer during grace (oh! my heart!), reach out for hi-fives, and stand at the screen door to wave at people who leave.
Currently, your love language is biting, which no one really appreciates (much to your frustration). But we’re working on better ways of communication.

You’ll be laughing and joking and talking about serious stuff with your sisters in no time.Kids Say-7

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Wordless (Bachelorette) Weekend

Bachelorette-3Bachelorette-4Bachelorette-2 Bachelorette-5 Bachelorette-6 Bachelorette-7 Bachelorette-8 Bachelorette-9 Bachelorette-10 Bachelorette-11

Good thing they’re cute.Bachelorette

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All The Creepy

A good example of why I am both dreading Andy’s increased travel this summer and ridiculously grateful that my sister Corey lives with us:

IMG_1677 IMG_1678 IMG_1679

A couple side notes:

Readers- Sorry for the cursing. This happened before coffee. Also, contrary to how it may seem (here and here), I promise we do not live in a den of vermin and infestation.IMG_1634

Ok…maybe we do. Any suggestions? Besides KILL IT WITH FIRE!

Corey- I love you. Thank you for helping me. Before you had coffee.

Mo- You haven’t wet the bed in years. I should have known something was wrong when you had all those wake ups and just taken you to the bathroom. For this, and all the other times I (wrongly) choose/chose quickly getting back to sleep over figuring out what’s really the problem, I’m sorry. And, I love you. PS are emoji still a thing? Or will this just be one of those embarrassing memories from the 20-teens?

Dom and Lu- Thanks for sleeping through the night. I love you too. PS are autocorrect errors still a thing? Or do computers just read your mind now?

Andy- I promise we’re ok, but please come home soon? I think Corey’s a little tired of catching all the creepy crawlies. Also, I’m hoping Mo will sneak to your side of the bed next time. Love you!

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Wordless Weekend: Road Trip!

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Field Trip!

This was our first visit to the Portland Children’s MuseumDSC_9857 DSC_9859 DSC_9864 DSC_9871 DSC_9874 DSC_9883 DSC_9890 DSC_9903 DSC_9894 DSC_9914 DSC_9923 DSC_9926 DSC_9930 DSC_9934

Definitely won’t be our last.

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