Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Titles Are Overrated

Okay I have no kind of inspirational, witty, funny post for you today.  Intelligence is in short supply for me these days.  I had no idea that building a house takes so much time and brain-power even though I am not actually doing the work myself.  It should get a little less hectic now that we're in the process of picking out the things like bricks and granite and stuff and we've got our financing figured out and know we don't have to come up with any more money between now and closing.  Phew!

Anyway, since I'm totally lame and haven't got the ability to regale you with my stunning words, I'll leave you to enjoy a few pictures of the kids picking out pumpkins and visiting a friend's farm to ride horses. 

 (Yes, this is Jordan falling in poop and crying really hard.  I took a picture because I rock.)

(Ask a boy to smile and this is what I get.  Can't wait to embarrass him on prom night one day and capture that oh-so-sarcastic smirk riddled with as much attitude as his teenage self can muster... I'm sure it'll be not much different from this.)

I did an impromptu photo session with another one of the moms at the farm with her adorable 6-month old baby.  If I can get her permission, I'll post the photos because I firmly believe that no one should be deprived of the opportunity to gaze into this child's soulful eyes - it will make you a better and happier person.  Seriously.  It was fun - this Momma said she has few pictures of her with her baby and I know how much it means to have some Mommy 'n Me shots around... So it was really nice to be able to do that for them.  

I'm wrapping this up now; I'm on the hook for cookies for Jack's class Halloween party (is it nearly the end of October - WHAT?!) so I've gotta go get a-bakin' and a-decoratin' so we can carve pumpkins this evening (no post for tomorrow, after hours of piping icing and hours of intricate cutting on giant pumpkins I promise I'll have no hand-strength left)! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Building A Life Together

When Justin and I realized we were going to be building a life together, we committed to that with every fiber of our souls.  We've done well so far, I think - as nearly every memory we've got for the last 10 years is shared between the two of us.  For the last four years, we've been building a family, and it is about to grow again to include our fourth baby.  And now, in what seems like it is, for us, the next logical step, we are building a house for our family.

So we can build our roots. 

So we can build our future.

And we are so, SO grateful that we've built a foundation that is enabling us to do this at all.

It has been a long, arduous process of searching for land, searching for a floor plan, examining options, weighing outcomes, budgeting, discussing, laughing, crying, getting lost in strange places with no street signs and no GPS signal, and many, many, many hours on the phone.  We're not done with the hard work and hours of clipping coupons to save as much as we can, and making decision and devoting time to meeting with the team we've chosen.

But the experience?  It has been, ultimately, an enormous reward.  And now that we've broken ground, the children are reaping the benefits of our choice as well in the form of getting to play in the half acre of dirt we've got all dug up for the foundation and yard, in getting to watch the excavators at work, in spending time in a serene setting outdoors knowing we're safe and that it is ours.  They'll watch their home grow from nothing and it will mean so much more to them years from now to know that this has, from the very beginning, been for them - for us - and that we all made it happen... we made it happen for ourselves.  And hopefully, this littlest Gallagher will come home to us and this will be the only home he knows.  I can't imagine much that feels better than seeing a physical manifestation of years of sacrifice and hard work take shape before our eyes.

And you know what? I'm super excited to share the journey! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Afternoons With Jack

After over 3 1/2 years, I've decided the days of Jack taking naps from 2-5pm are over.  (Yes, I'm in mourning.) It's really tragic because I worked SO hard when he was little to get him on a consistent nap schedule and I lived and died by that schedule - my body was programmed based on his sleep schedule.  My whole life was Jack's sleep schedule. 

And now I have to learn to adjust. It's probably as big a shift for me as it is for him.  (And I'm all of a sudden feeling very bad for all those shifts I put him through: weaning, taking away bottles, crib-to-bed transition... it's rough.  Very rough.)  The problem was that we'd start winding him down at 9:30 for bed (which is already too late, in my opinion) and it was getting to be later and later before he'd finally settle in to go to sleep... I drew the line at midnight.  It was taking away all my time with Justin.  It was taking away hours of sleep for me because I still get up early and midnight to 6 am isn't enough.  It was making me frustrated and my temper short and we were all going to bed grouchy and upset with one another.

So the naps had to go.

Sigh.  I miss the naps.

But I am really enjoying it at the same time... When the twins came along, as elated as I was to be adding to our family (and twice!), a small part of me was incredibly sad to be losing my relationship with him as an only child.  With the exception of the hour between when the girls went to bed and when we started putting him to bed, I got no chance to spend time with Jack by himself.  I had missed that more than I realized.  It's so refreshing to watch him and play with him and talk with him without having to scold him for not sharing or beating up a twin or stealing a juice cup or something.  It's amazing to observe his imagination when it's not being hindered by curious toddlers who strive constantly to get in Jack's way.

As I blog now, he's building more miles of train track and chattering away about the city he's constructing in and around his track.  He occasionally stops what he's doing, comes up to me and kisses my cheek and says, "I love you Momma; thanks for coming downstairs with me!" and it melts me.  I wonder if he missed this as much as I did?  And if he did, I wonder if I can ever make it up to him.

It's time like this - time spent with my kids as individuals instead of as a bundle - that reminds me that being the mommy of a several children has a special challenge: I must constantly be aware of the fact that each one has a unique personality and I must always strive to make sure I'm able to devote enough attention to each one of them.  Even though I'm exhausted and all I want to do is veg from 2-5 or not have to answer endless questions about everything in the universe for a few hours, it is so rewarding to take a bit of time to be with Jack as Jack... not Jack as the oldest kiddo or the only boy or whatever.   Just Jack.

Because in a few (very short!) months, that gift is going to be even harder to come by...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

At the Fair

So, I live in Tennessee.  That's pretty country.  I am not, however, country.  I need my civilization - you know, stores with sections and places that cut hair with trendy paint jobs instead of lace curtains and mauve wall borders and Dunkin' Donuts.

I mean, I love having the option of pretending I'm country for about 5 minutes.  I like driving past farms with horses and other animals and shopping at farmers' markets and dreaming about photographing those awesome old barns that dot the landscape. 

That's why the county fair is right up my alley - I can go, stare at someone's monstrosity of a cow, marvel at how bad it smells, wonder how on earth one grows a tomato the size of my skull (more importantly: why), eat some deliciously greasy food, and go home to the comfort of my indoor plumbing, in my minivan with its DVD players.

Everyone around us kept talking about what a beautiful specimen this thing was.  All I could do was try not to gag at how stinky it's urine was. 
The kids were having fun!
Jordan was a little "nature"'ed out at this point.  Don't think Daddy minded the snuggles!

So I would have been appalled at this duckling exhibit if it weren't so hilarious.  The ducks would climb up one side, which was grippy, try to get food out of that trough, but fail, since it's just a little too far for them to reach, and end up sliding down the other side into the pool of water below, then swim back and start over again.  Loved it.  AND we got to hold a baby duck!  (Well, Jack did.  Darnit.)

Since we're being all country here, I'll throw in an obligatory "I love America" photo.  (Go ahead, hum your Toby Keith song, I'll allow it.)

Chicken on a stick - mmm!  Don't get me started on how many things I had to skewer for him for the week after the fair. 

A kid and his balloon - there's not a lot cuter.

And at the end of the day, we have two little bumpkins who were very happy to be heading home after all the animal/food/nature excitement from the day.

Yee haw.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Relief, Finally

I've been a total and complete slacker.  The second trimester has brought with it some amazingly nasty headaches.  And by headacheS, I mean A headache that has lasted nearly a month.  The only thing that's changed for me for the last month is where in my head the pain was. 

It's like gremlins lived in my skull and were dismantling my brain neuron by neuron.  It destroyed my will to exist.  I was functional - barely.  Surviving was about as far as I'd go to describe my lifestyle.  Tylenol, as a relief, was about as useful when chucked at passing cars as it was when ingested, and even sleep didn't do much to help.  See, I'm a total badass about pain - I've got a crazy tolerance... unless you talk about headaches, in which case, I'd rather amputate each toe one at a time with a rusty nail file than deal with an hour of headache pain.  Stories of epidural-induced spinal headaches have been enough to encourage me to do 22 hours of labor without drugs for Jack and deliver the twins naturally.  I'd go grocery shopping naked every single day for the rest of my life if it meant I never had another migraine. 

HOWEVER, I had an appointment with my (rock star) OB yesterday and he prescribed some kind of magical medicine that helped last night.  I felt what it was like to be pain-free for a couple of hours for the first time in a month.

I could have cried.  I would have, if I weren't afraid it'd bring the headache back. 

If this amazing medicine continues to maintain my humanity, I promise I've got some good stuff to share.  Oh, and I get to enjoy my kiddos again and I get to enjoy fall and baking and.. and life!  It's incredible.  So thanks for sticking with me!


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