If not a mommy blogger than what?

Ugh how times have changed. The passage of time shows on my face and in my hair and in my wisdom and patience. But I have been writing in a blog since 2000. I started writing when contemplating motherhood. I literally had a blog about thinking about trying to conceive. I contemplated all the choices of becoming a mother and of changing my marriage so significantly.

“A wise mother knows: It is her state of consciousness that matters. Her gentleness and clarity command respect. Her love creates security.”
Vimala McClure, The Tao of Motherhood

But now I rarely talk about my girls other than very superficial terms of they are amazing or parenting is hard sometimes. I have literally went from talking about them as tiny little human beings growing in my body, sharing their birth stories and daily lives to almost barely mentioning them.

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This is not me lamenting on why am I really here if I am not just talking about being a mom. It is the most important job I have ever been given. This isn’t even about me as a blogger. I have always used this type of writing as less for my audience and more for chronicling my life and motherhood is arguably the biggest part of that. But sharing my kids stories as they get older feels intrusive and there are mom bloggers that do it every single day, but not me. If I choose tell the world about my OCD, my latest graduate school project or my current fitness obsession that is on me.

But I never want that part of my life to not exist here. It is the very soul of who I am and what I truly believe makes me the beautiful person I am. I am not talking physical beauty. I am talking about my kind and empathetic heart. They are why I exercise everyday and why I work as hard as I do as a teacher and student. I want them to know they can have any thing they want they just have to show up.

I remember growing up and my parents always did the best they could with what they had. It wasn’t always easy and our relationships haven’t always been easy even today, but they raised good people. I am proud of my siblings and I am proud of where we came from and where we are all headed. I want that for my girls. I revel in watching who they are and they become every day.

It is a hard thing for me to chronicle though because it is their path. I have had so much time to contemplate the type of parent I want to be and my opinion on that changes daily. But I do I stick by the core principles in our home.

  1. Kindness first always.
  2. Self before others, but never selfish.
  3. Never say the words, “I can’t.”
  4. Always try
  5. Love. Love. Love.
  6. Find strength in failure.

But I remember my mom always being enamored by just how differently children turn out despite you raising each child the same. And I get that. This summer has been different in the E household for just that reason.

I have a teenager who is on the cusp of high school, driving a car, starting (early) college and isIMG_1349 getting closer to figuring out who she wants to be in this world. I forget that that process is painful, joyful, beautiful, and messy sometimes. I also forget sometimes the best thing I could ever do for her is support her and love her unconditionally. I worry about the world she is growing up in, but I also take extreme comfort in the fact that we have raised her to be the girl she is who is stubborn, knows right from wrong and tries to see the good in everything. I also know she is timid of the hard parts of the world. I know she is afraid of rejection and sometimes her own shadow. So there is still more to learn together and I am grateful for that. I am excited to see what the next four years look like before we truly send her off to college. She is gonna change the world in ways that I have always wanted as the mother to daughters.

I also have almost teenager who is my child who isn’t afraid of me, the world or even IMG_1284anything besides bees. She is probably the one that worried me most as a young child, but what I saw as weaknesses back then are her biggest strengths. She isn’t swayed for anything or anyone. If she doesn’t want to do it, she won’t. She is fierce, the most intense and usually will try anything once. I worry sometimes the world will hurt her because she is so intense, but part of that intensity is damn near the most beautiful strength I have ever been witness too. Her fears are close to her heart. Her mark will be made on the world and she won’t care because the doing part of the mark is what mattered, not the aftermath. And can I just tell you how much this girl makes us laugh? She is authentic and real always and her ability to make tough situations lighter is something to see.

And oh my baby girl # 3 who is my handful. A lot of that handful is our fault. We accept that. She is also intense, but in a completely different way. She is not afraid of authority. IMG_1376She is not afraid of blazing a trail and looking back after the fact and not a moment before. Her giggles and laughter are infectious and she hates discord. She hates tension and gets her blunt honesty straight from her Momma’s mouth. But her gorgeous blue/green/hazel eyes will likely get her out of any trouble. That is if her “rhetoric” doesn’t work first. She is a sweet talker. I forget she isn’t a baby though. I still see her chubby toes and grabby newborn fingers. I feel like I always will.  She is just as smart and feisty as both of her sisters. The part that is our fault is she is our baby; we want her happy because truthfully when she is happy the family is peaceful. She reminds me of cat with its purr and snuggles that demand your attention. She is so similar to her sisters, but she is also her own person. Her own beautiful human being.

I am so very proud of the girls I am raising. It isn’t easy. In fact, there are so many times I wish I could come on here and talk about brutal it can be and is I just won’t. And for all of those moments there are 100x more of the beautiful ones that take me back to my original idea of using this type of forum for writing. I knew my life, mind, heart and soul was changing. Of course, I had no idea just how much, but becoming their momma was single handedly the absolute most selfish/unselfish thing I have ever done in my life and I look at them almost every day in awe because the power of this motherhood thing is breathtaking in a good and bad way. Your heart it breaks, glows, grows and shatters. Your mind all the exact same as the heart. The love is amplified something fierce. It is just a fiercely beautiful, brutal existence and I am glad I decided all those years ago to be a mom.

Love Winning Here Always.

 

E Party of 5 took a trip

This one was long planned and we were excited. It was also the first trip like this since MVD. That did make me nervous cause you never know when and how it will strike. The addition of the new med in May and increased dosage in the other has made it more manageable. Thank goodness!

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We were still in our neighborhood at this point. Which is funny given the girls look like they have been in car for hours.

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Everywhere my guy drives is a race, so imagine how fun that is in the mountains and there isn’t a darn thing I can do about it because I don’t want to drive in the mountains. So I hold on and grit my teeth.

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After two days in the car (basically 14 hours) we made it the beach. Ahh!

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# 3 knows how to cheese about like her Daddy. Keeping # 1 and # 2 out of the ocean the first few days was a trick. I liked it though. I am a beacher more than a pooler.

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We went on lots of shell hunts and family walks.

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And here it looks like # 2 inherited my guy’s “grin”.

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Woah? Is he smiling?

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Hmm, not sure where # 2 is. But cute pic! There she is.

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It was good family fun. We cooked, played games and drove each other crazy. So I think it went perfectly.

That my dear readers is….Love winning again.

A dose of reality on hiatus. 


Summer Hiatus #21 

You know that part in the beginning of every movie when the tell you to be sure to locate the exits. Well I have been to more movies than I could count with my girls and I look for them, but never have I openly talked about it with my girls. 

Since the Colorado movie theater shooting and just my natural teacher instincts I always look for exits in public places. My reality was shattered and changed then. I chalked it upto part of the job to protect those in my surroundings. Teacher = equals protector to me.

Every school year my students and I devise a plan for escape or fighting back. I diligently review once a month. We are in fact so prepared that when issues come up students know their role and what we need to do. So why wouldn’t I work this out with my own children? 

So when the standard exit came up yesterday I stopped what they were doing and I asked, “Where is our nearest exit?” They all pointed toward the exit another story away. I had already mapped out the one 10 steps behind us, so I pointed in that direction. 

They looked surprised by my asking. I said, “We can’t live our lives afraid. But we always have to have a plan.” Then we finally in the space of the next five minutes talked about scary world things. 

I hate and despise that I am raising my girls in a world where I have to even think about these things let alone discuss them. But the reality is that I do. 

We raised them to remember love and kindness and lead with love even when others hurt you. We have raised them to talk to people who think differently than they do so they can understand why. I can’t guarantee that they always will do this. But God I pray and hope they do. 

Teaching Our Daughters to be Includers

This past week I read a truly amazing post. One of those posts that you say to yourself, “Oh that is what I am.” This past year has been a struggle in my home with mean girls and sometimes mean boys. And I tried so hard to make my kiddo see she can’t control others, but she can control her reaction to them.

But I can easily repeat this line:

“The details are my daughter’s to share someday.  When my daughter — your daughter — is looking back on her childhood, she will tell her own story and it’ll be one of how we walked alongside our girls. How we empowered them.”

-Lisa McCrohan 

And that is me following my own best advice. Instead of focusing on the ins and outs of others behaviors I have spent the last year trying to lift her up, empowering her and trying hard to walk along side her in positivity and kindness.

I sat back and thought about where this all came from for me? I am an includer as well. I hate seeing others left out. I have no great bullying story. I didn’t have the lunch table leave outs. Or the purposeful unkindness. Sure I had times when others weren’t nice to me and would say or do other unkind things. But never to the extent that I felt bullied.

But what I did always do was set myself up to make that sort of behavior unacceptable. In school if my friends treated others that way I had no problem distancing myself from them. If a friend treated me that way I never struggled walking away. It was pretty black and white for me.

My daughters and students often ask me, “were you popular in school ?” My answer is always “I don’t know.” I truly see myself/saw myself as friends with all others. The mean girls didn’t bother me because they weren’t a part of my world. But I can tell you when they were mean to others the people they hurt were a part of my world. I invited them and accepted them for who they are. I have raised my girls to be the same.

I parent/teach similarly. I tolerate no meanness and unkindness. I have taught them to be inclusive and honest. Since they were little I taught them the meanest kids need the most love. It worked beautifully when they were small and young and things were easier. But now they are getting older and the meanness and unkindness is ramped up. It is harder to love unlovable behavior.

But I try so hard to remind them that returning the unkindness creates a circle of unkindness and cruelty. That if we respond in a honest but loving way to both our self and the offender it breaks the cycle. It plants a seed. The decision that we get to make then is do we sit around and watch it grow or just move on with knowing we showed a kindness that wasn’t shown to us.

But when you are young that is so hard. But that is the ugly part. If one responds to it doling the same treatment received nothing changes. Includers aren’t created. The best I can do as a mother and teacher is remind them the day will come when it will hurt less and they will change someone. Someone will decide to be kinder because they showed them kindness when they didn’t deserve it. More than anything I want my daughters and students to choose to be amazing.

“Brave”

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

 

The one where I cry – Part 2 (Family Edition)

WARNING: Pic heavy and long….

Saving the best for last…my amazing family. The ones I don’t talk about near like I used to. I have a few reasons, most of which I have discussed before, but mostly to protect their privacy. Now that they are getting older they have the right to not want to publicly be all over my blog.

When they were younger and I was writing about young motherhood and the things they were doing it was more simple. But now they are becoming individuals and finding their passions in life and quest for figuring out who they are I feel like I need to remain mum on those topics.

Of course, I believe them to be amazing. This past year as I tackled my own insecurities and inadequacies they stood by me the whole time. Raising three girls to careless about who the world wants them to be and figuring out who they are on their own has so many challenges. To have a momma who battled societies images of women this year I had to think long and hard about what I showed them.

I have always chosen to keep it real. The skin. The reasons why it got so bad. Why it happened. Why I decided to change. And most of all unconditional love of my guy no matter how I looked and love of myself. But this isn’t about me. It is about an amazing family that continues to overcome life’s obstacles.

So without further chatter…I share the amazingness that was E party of five’s 2015.

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Getting ready for New Years’s Holiday

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If TN taught me one thing….it is to enjoy these moments. The ones where everyone is happy and smiling and no worries. This..these people…they are what matters always.

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Me enjoying the view helping my guy as he was snow blowing my neighbors house. The previous winter I was trekking out there all by my lonesome cause he was sick. MVD gave me this back.

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She may have been our last and finale, but she keeps me young.

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We all sport the “E bun” as my students call it. I love the smiles we created during this problem solving moment where we were trying to get all of our buns in the photo.

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Baby Girl # 3 turned 6 and loved every minute of it. She rocked kindergarten. She became a 1st grader. She is growing up to my sadness. She became obsessed with shopkins, is still in love with swiss cheese and summer sausage and can read a chapter book all on her own.

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Baby girl # 2 turned 11 and into a teenager. We see less and less of her. She is either with her friends, or in her digital world of her Ipad, minecraft or her music. She hangs out in her room on the regular. She is in advanced reading and math and pulling in straight A’s. She is probably the most like her momma. She loves to be in the kitchen with me and has the organizing skills and fashion taste of Martha Stewart.

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And this one turned 14. How in the world I have had her for 14 years is beyond me. Where did all that time go? What a year she has had. I have watched the sometimes easy, sometimes hard process of her becoming a young lady. My guy and I have trust daily that we raised her right to make good and responsible decisions. It has been super fun to have front row seats to her growing into her own person. She loves music. To listen to it, to create it and to be in presence of it. She is in accelerated math and English. She is majorly in love with science. Can I tell you how many times I have heard about different chemical compounds and make ups? She got accepted in my school for her 9th grade year. We aren’t sure exactly where she is headed next year, but the girl has options and opportunities. She also is in the straight A club.

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And this guy. The words get harder every year because I love him more every year. I never believed the day I married him I could love him more and now I look back and think of all the hurdles in life we have jumped together and this beautiful life we have created together despite those hurdles and I am grateful for him. He is my home. He is my base. He gives me unconditional love and support. More than I probably deserve sometimes. And more importantly….people often ask me if he just love the new “skinny” me. I just remember he has always had the same eyes for me no matter my size or look. To me that is speaking straight to my heart. I don’t need to be skinny, fat or ugly. I can just be me. That is priceless in the world. I am grateful that God has allowed us to remain a source of love and comfort to one another. Life isn’t always easy, but love is.

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Our baby girls # 1 , 2 and 3 The Straight A’s.

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Do you know I have single handedly kept the clementine business booming this year. I have eaten approximately 750 of these darlings? Yes I am serious.

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With my Eggland’s Best egg’s not too far behind.

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My classroom (really it is my students) remains my third place to be besides home and gym. It is my home away from home.

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This is probably the place our family has hung out the most besides….

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Culver’s which has served as our place to go when we need extra family time. We probably visit at least once a week. Some of it is for the fries, or the curds, but mostly it is for the ability it allows our family to eat together and not go broke.

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The time I ran in the rain. How could I not take in this beauty?

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Or taking every chance I can to cuddle my baby girl even when it was hot and sticky outside.

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Or when my guy went to Iowa for a week and I couldn’t tell anyone but a few select few. How happy his girls were when he got back we decorated the whole house in his favorite color streamers.

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The spring/summer piano recital

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Baby girl # 3 graduating from Kindergarten. She was so proud of all of her hard work.

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My ability to let go of the long stringy hair once I lost most of my weight. I said good bye and cut off 6 inches of hair that was surprisingly easy to let go of.

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And I went deceptively darker with peekaboo highlights.

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And my guy and I spent a full day at the cemetery that gave spark to an amazing idea that pray and hope leads me to an amazing endeavor in 2016. (Shhh! More details to come… 😉 )

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Or October 7th National Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day where we all surprised my guy. Friends and Family also joined in.

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Our sweet wiener dog, Roxie, who inadvertently became my dog. I like her somewhat. But not like my guy likes her. But to his dismay, she only wants me. She follows me around the house, whines till I am there and waits in the recliner for me whenever I am not home. I don’t even like her to sleep with me, but every single night I go to sleep without her and midway through the night she climbs under my blankets and cuddles in for the rest of the night.

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A birthday date with my love to finally take that design by a student for an addition to my tattoo and make it a reality.

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5 hearts representing each of my precious family. 4 black hearts for myself and my baby girls. 1 teal heart for my guy and his TN. Surrounding my already there semi-colon. A reminder that even when you want to stop you have to choose to keep going because LOVE ALWAYS WINS!

Want proof?

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A picture from Christmas Day that perfectly shows off each of our personalities. My # 1 showing us how to take selfies. Notice her hand on her hip. She always thinks she is in charge. # 2 showing off a goofy face because that is her gig. She likes to make goofy faces and make life feel a little less serious. My guy is who constantly wondering how he got so lucky to be surrounded by so much beauty and love. Myself who is the peace in the middle of it all. A center to the chaos. # 3 who is so mostly easy going and just wants to get the moment over with so she can get back to what she was doing. That is her “cheese” smile.

Summer Hiatus: Day # 41 and Day # 42

summerhiatusjuly8thMy Sunday Night Ritual

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Oh I have trained them well. Book Store Mavens. The problem always is:

“How many?” and “Which ones?” They could not be more opposite on what they like to read. One refuses to read anything she deems inappropriate. The other wants to read any and everything that is dark ASAP!

But a day shopping and lunching with my # 1 and # 2 was a blast.

Summer Hiatus: Day # 30

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They are my heart and life and sometimes I look at them and just know this was my reason for being alive. All three so unique and beautiful and adding so much to my world and their own. And they are only just getting started. The three A’s.

“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
Jodi Picoult, Perfect Match

And because it was #2’s birthday! I gotta share some more pics…..

She was born with the darkest, blackest hair and from the minute she was conceived up until the very present moment she makes her presence known. She demands to be seen, heard and understood. She is fiercely loyal. I have no idea what she will do in the world, but I am positive about a few things. She will change the lives of others and she will do it being the finest dressed on point person she can be.

She brings so much happiness and laughter to our family and our home.

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This picture was her scolding me and making sure I announced to no one at dinner it was her birthday! She hates others acknowledging her or talking to her.

And because I have one more…

abbiebday7Sometimes I look at them and think wow, we created that. # 1 getting so independent and responsible. Truly finding and figuring out who she is in this world and trying to find her purpose. # 3 figuring out the adult world more and more everyday but still has enough “toddler/kiddo” left in her that her perception of the world is humorous and insightful and boldly honest!

I truly love all the stages of parenting and when I am in them I think they are the hardest. I will say the older they get the softer my heart gets for their hurts. When they are young Momma can fix everything and make people nice and keep their worlds upright. The older they get, not so much. :/

But I always let them know I am there and they aren’t ever alone. Ever.

Summer Hiatus: Day # 11

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Forever my baby you’ll be…..

This girl was so excited for this moment. You can tell in her smile if heard the conversation we had just hours before. She is the epitome of a caring person. She always wants to be sure everyone is happy and well cared for. She is kind in every single sense of the word. But today, her day, she knew it was supposed to be about her.

She says, “Momma, I can’t wait till everyone sings happy birthday to me. It will mean everything and I know they are singing because they love me.” How sweet and how much did that melt my momma heart. Let’s just say a lot. That is why I loved capturing the moment as she looked around at her family singing to her.

It was almost as good as when she told me about 1 she could feel herself growing literally because she was finally 6. Ha ha!

Summer Hiatus: Day # 10

I know I am late, but my opinion on all things with internet challenges is that if life is too busy to stop for a moment to take part that is good. That means you are living. And yesterday I was. Not that I don’t every other time, but you get he point.

Last summer my four year old inadvertently told me that I had a big butt. Yesterday, there was an infomercial on fitness. Her comment to me was, “Momma, you should listen to this mercial. It is healfy. You are healfy now.” As shown by her support here.

Yesterday, I didn’t run which meant I had the challenge of getting my steps in for the day. So my ladies and I went on a walk/bike ride. # 3 wanted to check every three seconds how many steps we took. It was so adorable!

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