Life is swirling around me so quickly and often so chaotically that sitting down and recording memories helps me to sort it out and make sense of it all in a way that is meaningful.
There are only a few days left in 2015 so I want to make sure I record our annual snippet of everyday life before we ring in the new year.
I know, like I need more records along with the hundreds of pictures I take to document life. But I mostly write about specific events and not as much about the full picture. I recently read our snapshots from past years and I love that I can remember those little slivers of time all in one spot.
So here we go; 2015 in the here and now:
Troy and I were recently at the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor for consecutive appointments with three of our children. We were both filling out paperwork and Troy was stumped when it came to their prescriptions as well as dosages. That led to him stating, “I wouldn’t have a clue what to do if you died.” We had a good laugh about it and I asked, “Would you know that Nash has to bring his library books to school on Tuesdays, Blake needs gym shoes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Blake has to bring book share books on Wednesdays, reading counts books on Thursdays, and library books on Fridays? Or that Blake’s math facts quizzes are on Thursdays, I drive the kindergarten carpool on Thursdays and every third Wednesday, and on Tuesday afternoons I pick up Nash after school while Blake stays for an extracurricular class, and then after I pick up Blake from his class, he has 15 minutes to change into his scouting uniform until the carpool for scouts arrives…?” Troy cut me off right there and exclaimed, “Stop, just stop!”
He knows that four boys is a lot to manage and sometimes send me flowers for no reason.
I guess you could say we are full swing into the elementary school years and all of the assignments and carpools and extracurricular activities that go along with that phase of life. And somehow all of those commitments and their corresponding days are safely tucked away in my brain, with the exception of some missed book returns.
After 10 months, California is really starting to feel like home. I was driving home from a late night meeting a few weeks ago thinking how familiar the streets felt and how blessed we were to live near friends we have grown close to in a short period of time.
The boys love spending time outside. With such nice weather, they can be outside almost every day of the year riding bikes and skateboarding and swimming and making up all sorts of games. The second they hear other kids’ voices, they want to peel out of our house immediately to join them. It makes squeezing in homework time quite a challenge some days, but I’m thrilled that they are thriving in our new community.
I can’t say I mind the lack of seasons one bit. I never thought I would miss winter and so far, I’m right. The boys have mentioned missing snow a few times, but not me. I’m perfectly content that our “fall” contains a few clusters of changing leaves here and there with palm trees in the background.
The only thing that made us crazy were all of the crickets that ended up in our garage over the summer. I started out being slightly terrified of their sudden movements and shiftiness, but ended up being so mad at all the noise that I crushed them any chance I was given. I starting dreaming of crickets and I get agitated every single time I hear a cricket noise.
The biggest change to our day to day lives this year was the diagnosis of asthma for two of our sons. Nash chronically coughed for six months straight and Crew ended up in the hospital for a night with his first asthma attack.
After Crew’s incident, doctor appointments and breathing treatments took over our lives. We started having appointments every week with the asthma specialist, ENT, radiologist and pediatrician. For a few months, each time we went back in for follow-up appointments, we found out the boys were worse. Their bodies were resistant to multiple rounds of antibiotics. Every time I thought we were getting a hold on their symptoms and treatments, we received more bad news.
My heart broke for our boys and their constant breathing treatments and syringes of medicine. They eventually grew accustomed to the nebulizer, but some of those oral prescriptions were so awful we had to think of every trick in the book, including pinning them down, in order to get them to take them. It was not uncommon for us to walk out of appointments with five or six prescriptions for each of them and complex instruction sheets.
Our countertop became our asthma medication station for several months.
They seem to both be responding to our current treatment plan much better than they did a few months ago. Our nebulizer time is our reading time and I actually really enjoy having the consistent reminder to sit down and read with them. Their medicine load is waning and I am enjoying less frequent trips to the pharmacy. My eyes have been opened to the world of children with medical issues and even though the appointments and treatments can be difficult, I feel so grateful that their diagnoses are manageable and will not affect may aspects of their lives.
Finn had his own medical setback when his ear ruptured three times within eight months. We added him to our ENT visits and he will have surgery to have tubes placed in his ears in a few weeks.
Blake is our only son without any major medical issues this year. I walk him half way to school in the mornings and he walks the rest of the way with hundreds of other children that fill the streets along the school. Nash starts kindergarten two and a half hours later and we have a carpool rotation with three other boys in his class. Blake and Nash walk home from school together and it is life changing to have them appear at home while the babies are already down for naps.
Blake packs his own lunches for school and is allowed to buy lunch one day a week. It has been a game changer for me during busy school day mornings.
Blake ranks the order in which he likes particular meals. For example, when I make Italian chicken, he says it is his “number 47 favorite meal.” Stroganoff is his “number 1 favorite meal” and broccoli cheddar soup is his “number 3 favorite meal.”
Blake loves to use Siri on my phone. In fact, he changed my name from “Lindsey” to “Awesome For The Rest of Your Life.” Now, all of my emails go to “Awesome For The Rest of Your Life,” as well as my home navigation and contact information.
Blake recently passed all of the swim levels required to join the swim team and he will be starting that endeavor in the new year. He is currently taking a LEGO engineering course where they build Battle Bots. Now that he is eight, he is officially a cub scout and whether I’m ready or not, we are adding scouting to our schedule.
Nash has always been a collector and his latest collection consists of nature’s souvenirs. Whenever he is at the park or on a walk, he picks up acorns and seedlings and twigs and mini pinecones to add to his bags full of what he considers “ordinary stuff.” In fact, “ordinary stuff” is now a well known term on our street and sometimes the neighbor kids join him in collecting items from nature.
Nash is a fanatic about ice cold water. He fills up his entire cup with ice from the ice-maker and adds only a tiny bit of water. It takes him several minutes to go through this process and he’d rather have no water than room temperature water. We always know that the cups filled to the brim with ice belong to Nash.
Nash also usually goes straight for the Otter Pop popsicles when he gets home from school.
Nash’s love for drawing grows greater and greater month by month. I think it began during all of our wait times at doctor’s appointments. He began doodling in a notebook I kept in my purse and now it is his preferred activity. He makes elaborate drawings of stories and mazes and good guy vs. bad guy scenarios.
Nash is involved in swimming lessons as well, which have moved to the indoor pool for the “winter.” He will be starting Little League with his buddies from kindergarten in February.
Whenever I have bobby pins in my hair, Nash thinks it is hilarious to grab his magnetic fishing pole and “fish” them out of my hair.
It still surprises me how much boys want to have their shirts off. When the roughhousing begins, the shirts come off. When it’s dinner time, the shirts come off. When it’s bedtime, the shirts come off. Blake especially likes the feeling of his sheets on his bare skin. I’m pretty sure they would go to school shirtless if I would let them.
We’ve been working really hard on nixing the phrase “Me and so-and-so.” It is one of my pet peeves. They are starting to remember to use correct grammar; “Blake and I…” or “Nash and I…”
Blake and Nash love to collect Box Tops to help earn money for their school. In fact, the minute I get home from the grocery store, they scour all of the boxes while they are still in the grocery bags and cut out any Box Tops they find. We have a special system in place to make sure they are evenly distributed or there would be a war over the Box Tops.
We started giving baths to two children at a time because four bodies in one little tub is a bit crowded.
Speaking of four bodies, it’s pretty crazy how many comments we get from strangers when we are out in public. The boys feel like celebrities. It’s so funny when they start quoting the things that are said to us. Here are a few of our favorites:
“Are those ALL yours?”
“Four boys? Your husband must be stoked!”
“Are you going to try for a girl?” (Super original. Never heard that one before.)
“Just stay tough. Boys really need that.”
“Oh honey. It will get fun in about 5 years.”
“Four boys and you’re wearing earrings?”
“You’re half way to a full baseball team!”
…and my favorite…
“Are they all from the same dad?”
Nash and Crew are still roommates and for the most part, that arrangement works out wonderfully. Sometimes Nash is annoyed by Crew’s chattiness when he wants to go to sleep, but he often tunes him out and conks out. Blake has his own room for the time being because Finn still sleeps in a portable crib in our closet. It’s dark and quiet in there and it just works for now, but eventually those two will be roommates.
I love spending time with Crew and Finn during the four hours that the older boys overlap at school each day. Errands are a breeze and lunchtime is so quiet.
Crew is a chatterbox and every word he exerts is the most exciting thing on the planet. He is so animated and so enthused about life. Some of my favorite things he says are, “swi-soup” (for swimsuit), “What the heck?” and “Check it out!”
Crew begs to watch the television show Team Umizoomi. He just can’t get enough of those mighty math superheroes.
Crew is a baseball enthusiast. He could swing his bat and play catch for hours on end.
When Crew repeats phrases for prayers, he always whispers them with a quiet smirk on his face.
I usually get Crew and Finn down for afternoon naps less than a half hour before Blake and Nash get home from school. They get out so early at 2:20pm. Sometimes if I’m really on top of it, I have a quiet house for one whole hour.
Finn still takes a morning and afternoon nap which limits our daily ongoings. But in a way I don’t mind being trapped at home. I get too frazzled on the days we are away all day. The older I get, the more of a homebody I become.
Finn uttered his first words, took his first steps and broke his first teeth this month (at fifteen months). I’m conflicted between wanting to be his biggest cheerleader and dreading each moment he moves further away from babyhood.
Finn is becoming super attached to me and insists on holding on to my legs whenever I’m trying to make dinner or get ready. It’s equal parts charming and frustrating.LEGO bricks somehow make their way to every countertop in our house.
The boys have all been really interested in vocal beatboxing lately. When Troy gets home from work, they watch YouTube beatboxing videos together and do their best to compile their own versions. Dinner time is L-O-U-D.
We reworked our family job system for the school year but we have been awful at it lately. It was working really well when I was on top of it and following through. I’m looking forward to a fresh start in the new year. Family systems have to be tweaked so many times.The boys weren’t so sure at first about our 10-20-70 system. But in time it became second nature to put a portion of their dollars aside. 10% goes to tithing in our church (giving money helps to remember that in the grand scheme of things it’s not really our money in the first place), another 20% goes to savings and the remaining 70% is theirs to save or spend.
I am hooked on Amazon Prime. I order everything online from folders and ink cartridges and birthday presents to diapers and shoes and school supplies. Amazon is my go to for just about everything. That two day free shipping is always worth one less trip to the store with several children in tow. I am also a huge fan of Prime Now. Groceries and household goods delivered to my door within two hours of placing my order? Sign me up! It is only available in select U.S. cities and we are lucky enough to fall within their delivery range.
We have really loved using our Disneyland annual passes. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to go to Disneyland whenever we wanted when we came out for vacations. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this is our reality. Our passes expire in February and we’re planning on taking a year off so that our “on” years can be more of a novelty.
I get together with friends every Monday night when The Bachelor is airing. We have the best time, mostly chatting over the noise of the TV and occasionally rewinding to catch tidbits we missed.
I have had to cut back my design work significantly with the addition of child number four and the move to California, but I love it too much to give it up completely.
In our church, we all take turns and volunteer in different positions. Nobody is paid and we are asked by our ecclesiastical leader (our bishop) to serve in various “callings” or responsibilities. Right now, my calling is Primary Music Leader. I lead singing time with 120 children ages 3-11 every Sunday. It is way out of my comfort zone and I often feel inadequate and unqualified. But I am serving and trying my best and finding brief moments where I do enjoy the responsibility. Maybe not at 2am when I have ink all over my hands after fighting with my printer, but certainly when the children are attentive and singing their testimonies with their whole hearts.
Troy arranges volunteers for all of the church building cleanings on Saturday mornings every three months and serves as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts program.
Troy deems every Friday “pink shirt Friday.” I actually didn’t catch on for a few years that he wears a pink button down shirt every Friday. But now that he has to take his clothes out of the closet the night before work since Finn sleeps in there, if he is ever away on a Thursday night, I make sure to follow suit and grab him a pink shirt option for Friday.
He managed a team in Virginia Beach and traveled out there several times this year. One week while he was out of the Southern California office, his co-workers played a little prank on him and replaced the photo on his desk with their own version.
I’m sure I could keep going, but there you have it. 2015 in a nutshell.