Saturday, July 2, 2016

Motherhood in Summertime Part 2

Free running in Valdosta Georgia outside our hotel before the last leg of our journey to the mountains.
I'm not sure how we made it to July already. And yet, I can barely remember the horrors of the school year anymore. The dragging out of bed. The before school tantrums. And the drop offs, And the very blissful 1 hour when Greystoke was sleeping, in which I frantically did as much housework as possible before I had to wake him up for the first school pickup. Then the 2nd. Then the after school tantrums began. Then the homework tantrums. And finally the "I wish I were dead so I didn't have to go to school" bedtime tantrums.
Yes, we love school.
Not to be outdone
It's been one month since summer started, and I can safely say that I am completely worn out, the house is a disaster, and the kids never put on shoes. And yet, we have made good headway on our bucket list. And we're having a total blast.
Boy #3. Need I say more?
I have sat down to blog a couple of times. Like this morning after I put Greystoke down for his nap. But first I had to make a couple phone calls for work, because I am an idiot, and thought I had filled a med box up for one of the clients through next week, and then was told I did not, and then went back to my notes and realized that indeed it was only filled through tomorrow, and so I am going tomorrow. So I had to make sure the time worked with the caregivers and that all the refills were there. Then I sat down and wrote one sentence: "I am not sure how it is July already." And then Greystoke woke up. I am guessing that he is getting his bottom molars now. The top ones are all through. He started getting stuffy last week. Not all runny like a cold, but snorty in the back of his nose, and then the past 3 nights his sleep has been pretty much terrible.
But anyway.
I got him back to sleep, and now I am trying again.
I may just let the pictures do the talking for a while. These are the pictures from our trip to Blairsville, Georgia for a Julich family reunion.
He loved our 10 hour car ride soooo much.

We got this lollipop at a mom and pop gas station in a deserted area of a winding mountain road. The man in overalls pumped our gas for us. His parents were sitting in rocking chairs by the checkout counter. The bathroom was so dirty that Aquaman came out saying "I didn't flush, and I didn't wash, because I would have just gotten dirtier doing either of those things!" It was one of our favorite parts of the trip. Just good, sweet mountain people. And Greystoke liked the lollipop too.

The porch swing outside of our cabin, overlooking the mountains.

The view from the porch

We shared a cabin with my brother and his 5 kids. The first night we all ate spaghetti together.

Daddy and The Dude snuggling. The Dude is such a snuggler. And so great to have 5 days together as a family.

Vogel state park, where we met up with Noni and Papa so they could watch Greystoke while we hiked with the older boys.

Feedng Aunt K's puppy, Bodhi. He was a good sport.

Helton Falls

JT got a good view of some snakes in the water, so we moved on to the other waterfall...

This is the next best thing to the ocean.

Family pic minus Greystoke. And also minus The Dude's pants.

He looks like he is skinny dipping, but he is not.

The Dude looks like a little man cub. 

This is pretty much the perfect environment for my family. A place they fit in naturally and comfortably.

At least until the littler one gets stung by a bee. Then we moved on...

A local directed us a different way out than we came and we got to ford some small streams in the truck. 

Greystoke didn't nap on the trip because it was too he was fast asleep by 6:30 every night.

Aquaman did so amazingly well. He had a great time, and a mostly great attitude. 

An early morning noisy gathering of small boys. The Dude, my late sleeper (8 am) slept through it.

Levi and Aquaman were more alike than I realized. ;)

Aquaman liked the crowd watching him play his games. As usual, however, he was not quite as excited about sharing the tablet.

We spent our last day there hanging out a pavillion and "lake beach" at Vogel state park with the whole family.  That's a whole lotta people. And at first Aquaman got a little cagey.

It was also the coolest day we had there...especially the morning hours. 

We took a walk around the lake with a large portion of the family. We blocked the whole trail. 

The Dude jumped right in and had fun with all his cousins.

My sisters took turns pushing mom along the gravelly path. The downhills were her favorite. 

Our last day. Greystoke is starting to get an attitude....

Picture of our cabin from the road. 

Since vacation, it has been harder to get back in the swing of things. We had something of a routine going before we left, and have struggled to find it again. We have, however, continued to have fun.
Bowling and lollipops. Who knew it would be such a winning combination?

But since bowling, especially free summer bowling, when the place is overflowing, requires some patience and waiting, the lollipops were very helpful.

The pool. Our 2nd home. Greystoke can swim with arm wings now, which means I can even get a few laps in myself when we go. It's never crowded in the mornings. And they are all happy during it and tired afterward. Win win.
Greystoke is obsessed with swimming. You may have noticed from other pictures that he will now pretty much only wear swimsuits. He also frequently carries his goggles with him. And brings everyone else their suits, including JT and I, and demands that we put them on, at all hours of the day.

Slip n slide. A great and simple investment. We have had a lot of fun with it.

One is cooking and one is washing dishes. Mom win.

My former co-worker and friend passed away this week from breast cancer. I trained her when she first came to CMS 10 years ago. She came to my wedding and made us a pillow. She made every single one of my boys a blanket with their name on it. She was as excited about the 3rd boy as she was about the 1st. She loved Jesus and she spread his light everywhere she went. Her story on earth is over now. But I smile when I think how happy she is in heaven.

Greystoke is a real 2 year old now. He talks so well, though his articulation is still not perfect, but I think I love it even more than if it was. He often has very good manners, and multiple times per day he says: "hank too, mama!" when I find something for him or give him something to eat. He "yikes" the slip n slide. He loves to go to "wee world". He loves to wear his "towels" (goggles).
He has a lot of very strong opinions about pretty much everything.
The Dude is as sweet as ever. He gives me 30 hugs a day.
I have been volunteering in his class at church, and seeing how he acts in school situations. The teacher loves him. He hugs her repeatedly. She tells me all the time how much she loves him. I confided that he is "just like my husband. Very sweet, and never stops moving", and that I was a little concerned about how school was going to go, and she said "you just tell them that he learns with his hands and that is just fine."
She is a teacher, and I bet she is a great one. But I know from experience that they are not all like that.
This summer I have realized how much Aquaman has changed in 1 year. He has always been hyper and impulsive and extremely sensitive and very black and white. He has always preferred to keep mostly to himself and has always struggled with transitions. And all of those things, I am just fine with. They are who he is, and they are fine things.
But since last year he has become so much more critical, so much more rigid in his thinking. He has become so intolerant of anyone different than he is. He has also completely lost his confidence about just about everything. It is hard to know if it is just a phase he has to go through, some sort of chemical imbalance, or the result of a very bad school year. It is probably a combination of all those things.
In our parenting classes, we talked a bit about personality types. It was determined that Aquaman is a mixture of Rabbit and Eeyore...a very difficult personality combination. I was surprised to discover that I am an Eeyore.
The therapist reminded us that personality types do not change, we simply learn to adapt to our environments, and also overcome our weaknesses. The weakness of Eeyore is depression. The weakness of Rabbit is anger.
Those classes helped me a lot. And sometimes I remember my Eeyore childhood self, and I smile.

We are giving up and paying out of pocket for the psych testing. We really need to have a plan for school this year, and the psych promised a 6 page report with recommendations. If the teacher will actually follow them.
OT was recommended twice a week but the therapist is not a provider with our new insurance so we have to start over with a new one.
I have been having great success sneaking upstairs to have my quiet time in the mornings, and this morning I read in Phillipians 4: "let you gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Right after that comes: "Do not be anxious about anything."
As I was reading this, my brain connected them and I is impossible to be gentle when you are anxious. When you are anxious, you are too anxious to be gentle. And this is why Aquaman struggles in this area. And what is the remedy? "In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
We have been talking about asking, and I've been learning more about asking myself. There are so many things sometimes I don't even know where to our lives, in the lives of family members and friends. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed. But you just ask. And then you thank God for the opportunity to ask. And for what he has already done. I thank God for options, even though they overwhelm me. Because it's amazing how many I have.
Work has been going so well for both of us. It is crazy how we both started new jobs in the span of a month after staying at the same ones for so long. And it is also crazy how smooth and great the transitions have been. I suppose I miss CMS, but I love my new job. I love pretty much everything about it. I am even, weirdly, looking forward to doing more of it in the fall.
And JT...well it has just been amazing. In his first week, he was given a bonus and a raise was discussed. He has been treated with more respect than he ever was in the 7 years at his former job. He is being appreciated for who he is, and I am so happy to see that happening for him.
And now I had better go. The Dude is begging for lunch. Greystoke is making Aquaman show him all his bathing suits so he can decide which one he wants to wear. They have all been very patient with me sitting at the computer, and I have been very impatient with them as I tried to finish.

Another month of summer awaits us.

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