Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Skinny by Summer

One of the things I said many times in my early unexpected pregnancy was that with the baby due in February, I'd be "skinny by summer." Well, it's summer, and I'm not yet what I would call skinny. But, seriously, I'm not really the skinny type. I like to be healthy and strong, and have never been, nor wanted to be, anything like fragile. I have begun to miss working out, though, and I really do need to "whittle my middle" just a couple of inches. Just a couple of inches would expand my fitting wardrobe by about 100 percent.

And so, tonight begins a sit-up regimen. I'm going to work these obliques. I can't promise a lot right now in the way of fitness--other than the fact that I go through my life in an intrinsic ballet of motherhood every day--but I can promise sit-ups. And if I can get that done, I'll eventually want more of those feel-good endorphins. You know, if you give a mouse a cookie... Ah, well, maybe that is not the best analogy.

At any rate, I have about a million better things to think about than how I look in a bikini after having had four kids in seven and a half years, the youngest of which is only five months old. I am a smart girl, after all.

Life with my four blessings continues to amaze me. There are new challenges and rewards everyday. My little man Luke seems to be hitting a growth spurt. I'm getting even less sleep right now with all of his nighttime waking to eat, and he continues to love every spoonful of baby food. The other kids are tired, always it seems, but hanging in there. We will get caught up soon.

I'm excited for a long weekend of camping with several other activities sprinkled in. I'm ready for family visits around the campfire and pigpen kids climbing out of the creek. It's summertime in America, and I must get to a fireworks display.

But first, one hundred sit-ups! Isn't this fun?! Check back on Thursday, when I hope to post my midpoint review of how I'm doing with that New Year's resolution I made back on January 1st.

And how are you doing?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flying Solo

It's a rare night in the Roberts house. It's not my usual summer fare to be home on a Friday night.

The kids enjoyed a movie earlier with Daddy's popcorn. I swear, the man makes the best popcorn around. It's a treat for all of us, every time. Luke isn't so lucky yet, as you can see in the photo above. He has started on the baby food, and man! Is he hungry! He's eating more than I would have imagined at this point. And so the square of Roberts kids that will eat Shrek and I out of home is complete.

All four of the young ones are asleep, hubby is off to a bachelor party, and I have been given a gift. The house to myself (kind of), a little bit of energy to spare since I took it easy today with the kids... The thoughts than ran threw my mind went something like, 'finish putting the pictures in the album!, figure out if I've set aside the birth pictures yet on the scrapbook pile!!, take a bath!!!, turn on the TV to see if a chick flick is on!!!!" And then, I had the good sense to just go pour a glass of catawba wine and sit down to this blog. Of course, I turned the TV on too, which isn't usual for me, but now I'm sucked in, watching "Pretty Woman," because, really, have I ever seen the whole thing?

I'd love to stay and chat, but my gut feeling is that I should put my feet up, drink a second catawba and enjoy watching Julia Roberts make America fall in love with her. And damn, this wine is delicious!

It was a great week. I lost some things, I won some things, and in the end, I'm grateful for all of it. Life is meant to be lived, and I plan to do just that.

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Is How I Do It

I have a confession to make. I don't even know where my real camera is. I might as well keep going... I am way behind on organizing photos, and let's not even talk about the kids' scrapbooks. There has been clean laundry stacked in my glider rocker in my bedroom for weeks. I've been digging through it and it's nearly to the point where it doesn't seem clean anymore. I have dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes to put away, dirty clothes, clean clothes, bills to pay, toys and shoes to sort, an endless gaggle of stuff conglomerating on my dining room table. In short, this is how I do it.

I let things go. I do what I can, and every now and then, I do major work to catch up.

Yesterday I got pooped on. It happens. Today, a tire blew on my van as I traveled at a rate of about 65 mph on my way to work. I'm fine. I'm in a really good place right now. I have established an inner peace that fuels me through the craziness, the uncomfortable situations, the not-so-good moments.

And I'm having a whole hell of a lot of fun on the way. There are ballgames, campfires, swimming parties and picnics. I am tired, I am grateful, I am blessed.

And now, it can't wait any longer. I must get ready for morning and get myself some sleep in the peacefulness of a slow oscillating fan. Can't wait!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Five Years of Sweetness

I see a fire in this boy that tells me he's going to make positive changes. It's not an inferno or a flicker, but something in between. It's a slow, steady burn.

Today is Maxwell's fifth birthday. I still smile when I remember how hard I fought for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) during my pregnancy with him and how proud I was to actually do it. Shrek and I were told it would be optimal for our second babe to be born during the business day while all hands were on deck in case I had to go to a C-section. I was pushing by 3:30 or 4, but feeling awfully sick, tired and weak. Shrek got right in my face, and said, "Let's do this, baby. We gotta get this baby out!" At 4:59 p.m., right on time, Maxwell David came into the world, and we all cried.

Since then, I've learned that my firstborn boy can be incredibly sweet. He's also shown the "Shrek" side of himself, but if we keep him fed, juiced and well-rested, it can be managed. While he has always been very emotionally intelligent, it's just been within the past two months that he's also become extremely interested in numbers, letters and putting pencil to paper. Like a light switch flipped, our Max has gone from barely coloring to writing out his own, very neat birthday list, which he insists hang on our fridge with the "5" magnet from the Leapfrog set.

He's a friend to all. He has one speed, and it is not fast. Daddy says he wishes he could ever be as cool as Max, who saunters through life with natural blond highlights in the summer, a carefree look on his face and a "hockey smile" with only one front tooth.

He's crazy about Transformers, Power Rangers, Monster Trucks and.... baking. He's awesome with the baby and indifferent to what he wears. He's an amazing little man, and I am so enjoying watching him grow up.

Happy birthday, baby boy! You are a huge part of mommy's sunshine and one of her favorite reasons. I love you so much, it hurts.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Take Me Out

Every now and then, life reaches a fever pitch. Nothing major is happening in my corner of the world, but I can't catch up, can't get enough sleep, can't feel like all is well. (But it is.)

This week brings seven ballgames. Yes, seven. Lily (and her cousin Julia) are rocking it out on the softball field. Max (and his cousin Jud) are cracking us up on the T-ball field. It's fun being ball parents, but I'm ready for summer to start looking more like summer as far as the calendar goes. The rushing around needs to go away...

I'm also needing some sleep. I had a late campfire Saturday and a late night last night as well. My morning and evening commutes were both very sleepy today. And now, here I am, doing it again, pushing 11 p.m.

So this isn't a masterpiece, but it's life. So take me out, coach, I'm not ready to play.

Momma needs a short nap. And a chimpanzee butler. And a wife. (Somebody whose sole ambition is laundry...)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer State of Mind

I'm not the kind of person that can come home to a messy house after work and flop onto the porch swing. I leave this house nearly everyday in a blaze of glory. That is to say, if I can get most of what we need, my four kids and myself out the door, I do it, even if the house looks as though it's been hit by a cyclone. When you see the open door, run!

In spite of my need to always be cleaning, sorting and looking for the next crisis, I've been trying to dial back my efforts to finish what will never be done. Several friends' Facebook statuses have tugged me into a place of awareness lately. One talked about how she was laying on the trampoline, looking at the stars and listening to her kids run and catch lightning bugs. Now doesn't that sound like summer?! The other had a photo of her youngest in a laundry basket with the caption, "The laundry will always be there, but I won't always be little."

It is so true.

I look at Luke and try to remember my other kids at this stage. I nuzzle his sweet Baby Magic-smelling head and swear I'll never forget it. But I will.

So it's my responsibility, as mother and unofficial Roberts family summer cruise director, to come up with activities to not only make these days fun but to make these days lazy and memorable. I have to juggle, to be sure, in order to get anything done, but I will remember the beauty there is in doing nothing.

Kids are the royalty of summer. They do summer so well and so naturally. In spite of the fact that I used to be a kid and a summer queen in my own right, I've grown up. But my vow is this: while I still have to go to work, I'll loosen up about bedtimes and ice cream everyday. I'll let the dishes go, when I can. I'll devise more impromptu swimming trips. I'll run through the sprinkler and allow the kids to have more lemonade stands than the local economy cares to support.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow morning's iced coffee, but first.... I'll sleep in my warm bedroom with the cool fan and a sheet.

Because it's summer, and I'm in a summer state of mind.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Love in Child Form

It's been said that babies are a wonderful way to start people.

It's true. Babies are really wonderful. I've always been a baby person. As one of the older grandchildren, I spent many nights with my aunts and their newborns. At 14, I mothered like you wouldn't believe. I've always found my peace in babies, in spite of the stress and havoc they can cause. I guess it's not surprising that I ended up with four of my very own.

Our young friend Ava, who has been battling a brain tumor, has found peace in Luke. While my other children have befriended her and taken care of her in their unique ways, Luke has also unknowingly found his niche in making her world a better place. In February, fresh from Disney World, Miss Ava came to the house to meet Luke. It was love at first sight.

Four months have passed since that time. Our baby has grown up a bit, and Miss Ava has continued to do what she does best: she's changed the community one person at a time and continued to brave the ups and downs of her condition.

One of the highlights of my weekend was watching Ava hold Luke again with her daddy's help. There were smiles and giggles. Pure love in child form.

I've been thinking that if we could all just see each other the way kids do, we'd be in a better place. We wouldn't see the past or the future, or the divisions we create.

We'd see that we're all gifts from God, with our own talents to bring to the table. We'd see that a four-month-old can make someone else's day just by his presence. We'd see that living well trumps living long.

Ava has shown so many of us that we can't be defined by the ways in which life is unfair. We can't dwell on the flat tire, the petty fights with our families or friends, the good fortunes of others in our own times of struggle. She's shown us to see each other for what we are: imperfect, yet precious; different, but the same.

Ava is a warrior and a teacher. She both loves and fights like a girl. She has lived her life out loud and has been heard by so many. Ava is love in child form.

Tonight, I lift her in prayer and stand on her behalf. May God hold her in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Blog!!

Yesterday was my birthday, but today it's the blog's turn. Happy 1st birthday, baby blog!! You've grown so much in one short year. It's a celebration, to be sure, that this blog is still kicking, still claiming its real estate on the World Wide Web. It will not fall to exhaustion, depression or disrepair. "These Are My Reasons" is still a great title with worthwhile content and fantastic readers. Thank you all for hanging on my every word. You make me feel like we're all in this together! Please stay posted for change. I'll be relaunching soon, and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to help me out!

Life. It's real tonight. I'm crippled by its beauty, its ugliness and its unpredictability. Who could have known we'd all be in the places we are now? I pined for children, and now I have them crawling everywhere, making dirty laundry faster than I can believe and eating me out of the house, but with all good things like string cheese, ham, apples and endless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. "Yes, Max, yours also has butter..... Yes, Max, I know you don't want it folded up. .... Yes, Max, there's butter under the peanut butter and jelly....."

Sometimes paradise wears a funny face. Don't be blind to your own.

I'm having serious trouble keeping my eyes open. The night promises to be long with kids with ear aches. This might not be the best post, but it is what it is, right? I'm happy and grateful to have been able to write it. I've said it before and I'll say it now, life is beautiful just the way it is.



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