William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Greetings from Crazy Town

38 weeks pregnant + 7 months of living with my parents + 3 mortgages + 4 kids + 1 house under construction + 1 house still on the market + 1 new job (minus 25% income) = ???

I've never been great at math, but I'm fairly certain "2 sane adults" is not the answer to this story problem. I'm not necessarily complaining because really, most of these "problems" ultimately result in happiness, but I'd definitely settle for fewer moving parts at one given time. It's completely laughable to look back at photos from a year ago and remember saying things like, "Everything will be "better" at this time NEXT year ...". Famous last words. Fast forward 365 days and I guess we didn't know just how crazy "crazy" could be. Of course many of our old difficulties ARE better. Exponentially better. But what we failed to predict is that a fresh crop of challenges would pop up to fill the gaps...and then some. Maybe that's the lesson...forget expectations for the future and appreciate the tides of life. Sounds kind of cliche to me, but I probably shouldn't snub it....someone, somewhere, is obviously trying to teach me something. Or having a good laugh.

Here's a quick summary of our life these days. I'm feeling pretty pregnant, but can't tell if I'm ready for the baby to just be here, or so unready that I'd rather stay pregnant...for another 2 years or so. We've made very few baby preparations, so it's safe to say we'll be winging it again. I'm (kind of) okay with that, I have to be.

Even though we've hit maximum capacity at my parent's house, (in both physical space AND emotional tolerance) it looks like we'll be squeezing one more person under this roof very soon. This place is like a clown car...it's quite surprising how many people we've managed to pack in. With our house in Illinois STILL on the market, we've long given up the dream of being in our new abode come baby day. We've set our sights on Christmas, but that might be outrageously and insanely optimistic. Jason put a new roof on our Illinois house over Memorial Day weekend (the single last piece of the house never updated) and then topped it off with a decent price reduction. Bring on the showings, please.

We work on our Baraboo house as much as we can, which basically boils down to a couple hours a week. We'd love to pick up the pace, but everything is dependent on that sale we've been anticipating for 379 days (but who's counting?!?). In the meantime we make plans, build some walls, tear off siding, bust out an old chimney...all the fun things that require time and effort but no money. I've become less and less help with the heavy lifting. I think the last time I went down to "work" with Jason I ended up sitting in a folding chair handing him tools. I did manage to catch one error that would've cost him quite a bit of time, so I guess I'm still good for something. I did, however, buy us a new bed while Jason was at work yesterday. It was an unnecessary splurge...we clearly have a million other ways (which happen to be much more pressing) to spend our money, but it felt like I was purchasing a little piece of hope. I love to imagine us curled up in our new bed, with NO kids sharing our bedroom, maybe even reading or watching tv...settled, peaceful, relaxed. It will have to sit in storage upon arrival, but I'm happy knowing that once that first stubborn domino falls, we are READY for the dream.

An odd thing happened right after William's birthday. As if we weren't feeling unstable enough, Jason accepted a new job. Over the past 10 years, we've been very fortunate in the opportunities, flexibility, relationships, and experiences provided by Jason's career. To say he was unhappy, in any way, would be untrue. So, what happened was this: Jason was approached by a local dairy cooperative and acted on a gut feeling. It was a GIGANTIC leap of faith and the decision was not made lightly. Despite the long list of "pros," it was hard to ignore the simple fact that our family (already dependent on one income) would be increasing and his salary decreasing. It's easy to say "money isn't everything", but  not so easy to believe when your family is on the line and you are voluntarily agreeing to less. And, in all selfish honesty, after having Jason working from home for the past 7 or 8 months, I absolutely dreaded the thought of him being away all day. We talked and talked and talked...never more indecisive. In our defense, we've become a little gun-shy with the big decisions. Many of our well-thought-out, what-could-go-wrong, common-sense, "right"-thing-to-do choices have either blown up in our face, or ended with a completely unexpected result. So, after countless debates, we went for it....and surprisingly, it was exactly what we needed. Without realizing, we had fallen into a complete rut...too many days with neither of us getting dressed, too much flexibility, and too loose of boundaries. Home life interfered with work, and work hours seeped into family time. Overall, we had become much sloppier versions of ourselves. First day on the job, the new energy was contagious. By the end of week one, Jason was so happy and in turn, I was too. Two months later, we're 100% sure of our decision. It served as a good reminder that change is good afterall.

The boys are great. Luckily, even as stress mounts, they don't seem to notice. We've had a good summer so far and have managed quite a bit of fun despite the heat and circumstances. We had their 15 month well-baby check this morning and most importantly, everyone is healthy and progressing. Charlie is 24 pounds and robust in both size and spirit. He's eating bits of table food and says "Uh Oh" and "Bye Bye." He has a temper, but is equally jovial. My mom says he's the most like me.

Benny is 21 pounds and so coordinated. We predict he'll be our best athlete. Like Charlie, he's eating real food and has two words, "Mama" and "All Gone."

Ikey FINALLY started eating solids about 2 months ago and FINALLY broke 20 pounds. He's still his own man, and in a lot of ways, runs the show around here. His vision remains a question, but he'll have a test in the end of the month that should give us a better idea of what we sees out of each eye. Besides that, we continue to watch his blood pressure and kidney calcifications, but he's doing so well overall. All three are almost walking. They crawl super fast and walk around furniture. I love to see them moving throughout the house...it amazes me, actually.


William has really "grown up" in the past couple months. He's really loving his brothers these days and it warms our hearts to see the four of them actually playing together. He calls them "my babies," even when frustrated with them, ("Mama, my babies are wrecking my cars!!!!!!!!") and seems to view them as FUN now that they're more mobile.

First try at swimming lessons. Let's just say we have some things to work on in the water.
I could go on for hours, but will wrap this up for now. As our family evolves (again) over the next couple weeks I promise to be in touch. Hope the summer is treating you well. As always, more soon. 

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