Seaside Or Close Enough

We spent last week in Seaside, Florida, and I'm in recovery mode this week.  It was such a relaxing vacation this year...but honestly it was the quickest week ever.  It just seemed to fly.  And usually I take so many pictures...once more my pregnant slacker self just took a little more laid back approach this time...which seems to be happening in every facet of my life right now.

Our rental place was outdated...think Brady Bunch (or Mad Men?), but it worked perfectly for us and I fell in love with it instantly.  I think the family had just started renting it out-it was a family gathering spot for generations.  It had such a sweet sentimentality about it.  As old as the house was it was in pristine condition inside and out-very well taken care of.   You know how much I love the beautifully decorated Seaside houses, but there was something a little more genuine "beach cottage" here.

A beautiful shell collection in the front hallway-my little ones loved this.

Cutting edge-about 40 years ago?

You needed to see a close-up of that paneling in the kitchen didn't you?

 We spent most of our time at the beach of course- we had the most beautiful weather, every minute of every day.  Lucky ducks we were.

The Easter Bunny put kites in the Easter baskets.

We rented a paddle board for 3 days and it was well-used...even once by pregnant old me...although getting on that thing was quite a feat.

Abbey took this picture...yes the water is really that color and the sand is perfectly soft squishy sand.

Isaac and his friend went way way way out and did some diving and shell hunting.

Someone remind me to buy Matthew some sunglasses and a hat next time-he has my sun sensitive eyes.

Abbey and a friend went paddle boarding one day and neither were crazy about sea life.  One time a school of leaping fish went right over the paddle board, and from the screams that followed I think every beach-goer far and wide thought these two girls were being eaten by sharks.

We saw Isaac for about 5 hours the entire week.  To eat and/or to get money to eat.  I did get to spend about 20 minutes with him to take his Senior pictures.  The one thing I think is so great about this place (or that works well for us with our wide range of ages) is that I can give the older kids freedom and I feel it's completely safe...and no driving involved for the most part.

Abbey's bike-how cool is that.

A perfect reading corner.

A few more coming up soon-then I have to get back to real life.



with Isaac -1994

with Abbey-1996

with Matthew-1999

 with Andrew-2003

with Patrick-2007

So many of you said so many nice words of congratulations to me when I announced my pregnancy with my sixth child.  I appreciate them all-sometimes I feel like all that is said to me around here is, "Can you..." "Do you know where..."  "Make him stop..."  "What's for dinner..."  that sort of thing.  You all have so much confidence in me, and that is so nice of you all.

But I want you to know something.  With every pregnancy I have had many thoughts and worries and anxieties on my ability to be a good mother to each child I bring into this world.

Maybe each time I have more perspective...I KNOW in my heart there will be trying times, tired and exhausted times, frustrating times.  I know I will feel dumpy and fat for a year while I nurse my baby because I never lose all my pregnancy weight till I'm completely done with nursing which means an entire year of stretchy waist bands.  I know that I will be a walking zombie with a short temper till the baby sleeps more than 2 hours at a time.  (Which none of my babies did for a long time!)  I know I will feel at times like no one gets the energy it takes to raise teenagers and babies at the same time and feel a little sorry for myself, and then get mad at feeling sorry for myself when I know I should be feeling grateful instead.  I know I will have to keep things simple which means saying no a lot-even to my own family.  I know I will feel overwhelmed and then guilty when I lay may head down to sleep just about every night.  Did I say one thing encouraging to this kid or that kid?  Did I forget once more to sign a paper, make a phone call, write a thank you note?

Now I also know how fast infants become babies, and babies become toddlers and toddlers become school kids, and then teenagers and then how they are ready to leave the home.  So little things, like how often the baby poops-which I used to record in a pooping/feeding/wetting notebook with my first, are no longer recorded-I know things will be OK on that front...I also know that those worries are nothing, nothing, compared to the worries that come later.  I'd trade pooping worries with teenage driver worries in a heart beat.

When I look at each of those hospital photos above I can see it in my face-my happiness but also my insecurity, my doubt, my worry about the huge task before me, that I know won't work as smoothly as I'd like it to, in spite of my planning and preparation for that first year.  But I did do it.  I did it the best that I could do. I survived the sleepless nights, the endless nursing sessions fit in between meeting the needs of toddlers (and school children and teenagers!), the frumpy frustration of having nothing to wear and no time to care, the feelings of guilt over snappy exhaustion, the endless neediness and 24 hour care of my family.

Every pregnancy, I believe, brings big changes and adjustments to a mother...whether it's your second and you are worried about how you can possible love another and share your time, or whether it's your sixth and you wonder how you can stretch yourself out so thin and not feel completely depleted, and not leave anyone resentful-we all (I think?) have the same feelings.  I think many mothers feel like they are not "allowed" to have these feelings, especially when that baby was "on purpose" and tried for...I know I still grapple with this.  But I remind myself that we are allowed to feel this way...maybe it means we realize the scope of care involved, it means we want to be the best we can be for our family, it means we recognize the big work before us.


Ordinary Days

A cape, a baseball mitt and duct taped soccer cleats.  What more does any boy need to go out into this world?

Our Pokemon (really really old Pokemon played with since my teens were tots) game.  Roll the ball and knock out the enemy.  Someone always wins and its not me, but I think the rules are made up as we go along?

I love Andrew's notes.  I also love that he changed Fritos to grapes.  Do you save all your kid-notes?  I do-I throw them in a little box.  My mom used to keep ours in her cook book.  They are still there. 


Hi Baby!

I am feeling so much better...I still have some ickiness in the late afternoon and evening-nothing compared to what it was-more just like a loss of appetite.  I'd rather just not be around food then, which is making dinners really really lame around here.  I couldn't believe how many comments and emails I got from fellow-hyperemesis sufferers and honestly, I came away feeling so lucky and grateful because compared to some stories I feel like I had it easy.

I am so grateful and so happy for this new little life.  Every baby is just an incredible miracle from start to finish.  The little kicks-whenever I feel anxiety about the pregnancy, he/she seems to know and give me a little sign everything is fine.  I make sure to say thank you each time.