Our Belated Christmas Card
I haven’t visited this blog in what seems like forever and for a while I felt a low level amount of guilt and anxiety about it. Like because I started this thing, I have to do it every week or else it’s not worth it at all. I guess that kind of self-induced pressure is how most resolutions go by the wayside.
But out of anything I do creatively, the thing I look back on the most is this blog. I don’t want to let down future Grandma Mick by giving up on it. So even if it’s just a yearly post, I will not deny you these sweet faces. Because we all know our memories are slowly migrating from our actual brains to the Internet anyway. And when Mark and I are resting between bridge games at the nursing home, we’ll be able to sit together, eat chocolate pudding out of tiny cups, and have one of our grandchildren read us this blog. (Because the font will be “TOO DAMN SMALL” for us to read ourselves).
Those will be the days.
Beyond preparing for the nursing home with this post, I also meant to send out a Christmas card, then a New Year’s card, then a Valentine’s card. I almost started designing our not-so-Irish St. Patty’s day card when I decided to let it go this year. This post will have to suffice as an update for all you friends and family who care. Please don’t stop sending us your sweet letters though - we all look forward to them. One day I’ll be back in the mix too.
The pictures below are some of the only ones I took with my nice camera all year. What a change this was from our first year with the twins when I had it at arms reach throughout our days. But now I’m working more, the babies don’t sleep as much, and I’m wanting to give my kids as much undivided attention as I can at home. (However, if you saw the amount of kid pictures on my iPhone you would know that my idea of “undivided” must mean I include my phone as a child).
Ugh, another resolution I’m working on for 2019.
The days are SO busy. Before having kids I remember wondering if I could do it. Get up day in and day out, sacrificing that easy morning wake up where I only had to take care of myself. It’s hard to remember what that was like now. Why did I EVER get out of bed if someone else’s life didn’t depend on it?
It is truly amazing how parenthood transforms you. I might not always be energized, but I get up and get the job done. I am thankful for all the lessons in my role as a mother, but number one is how to put others before myself. I am most definitely selfish in many ways, but when someone’s life depends on you getting over yourself and moving on, you do it (or at least hopefully you do!).
Who wouldn’t for faces like these?
As you can see, we spend lots of time in our driveway and at the end of our street. My goal is always to park my butt in a chair with my feet up while I watch my kids entertain each other. You’d think with four kids this would be a guarantee. But it never fails, I’m either summoned to “draw a fireman climbing the ladder NOW MOMMY!” with chalk or someone falls and needs to be held or I have to sprint like an Olympian to fetch a ball before it falls down the street drain.
Again, I’m learning that lesson of putting others before myself and knowing a day will come when my feet are propped up and I’m parked in a reclining chair. Probably in that nursing home I mentioned before, but it will come.
I should admit that I am not always so active though. Mark calls me the master of creating kid-friendly activities that involve me sitting or lying down. Like “Hide and Don’t Seek” where I tell the kids to hide and then I call out asking if they’re in certain spots of the house. Or doctor, where the kids have fun giving me a foot and head rub and placing blankets over me while I “pretend” to sleep and be sick.
I’m full of gems like these. Maybe that should be my next blog post - “Kid Games with Inert Parents!” A Pinterest winner for sure.
Over the summer months I fought inertia and we visited a local beach which made the North Carolina heat bearable for this Minnesota girl.
Then winter came and brought our yearly snowstorm and I was reminded that after 10 years in North Carolina, my blood is no longer Minnesotan. The kids definitely enjoyed playing in it though!
Levi is four now and still 100% obsessed with fire trucks. Every day we make a point of spending at least 10 minutes with each big kid (and now soon the twins) where we give them all our attention and do whatever they want. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but you’d be surprised how hard it is to fit in a measly 10 minutes of attention.
For the past month or two, Levi spends the entire “special time” having us draw firetrucks with firefighters and all the accessories you could possibly think up. The swirly hose is his favorite. And don’t forget the “Water shooter thing”. He is so creative, passionate, silly and sometimes remarkably grumpy, which makes him kind of hilarious to hang out with.
Evy keeps growing at light speed pace. She lost all four of her front teeth last year and can’t help but talk with a lisp most of the time. I can tell she’s taking on so many of the “oldest” sibling characteristics - she’s responsible, driven, caring, and loves justice in our household.
I’ll always remember one interaction between her and Levi where he hit her for something and then as Evy was in the motion of hitting him back she yelled “Don’t you remember that Jesus said not to hit or people are just going to keep hitting and it won’t stop?” BAM!
I mean, at least she knows the right thing to do, but the execution is lacking a bit. I’m thinking of ordering some referee shirts and wearing them as my daily mom uniform.
She is an absolute joy though and I couldn’t imagine a household without her amazing spirit and enthusiasm for life. I’ve never seen anyone so excited for other people’s birthdays, holidays, visitors, traveling, dentist appointments or really anything outside of our normal routine. She definitely brings the fun.
The twins are talking now and in that extreme cuteness stage of almost two and a half. They do some terrible twos things, but not much. Or maybe I just don’t notice them because I’m desensitized at this point. Things don’t faze me anymore. For example, Carter drew with purple marker all over our white couch the other day and I haven’t mustered up the energy to clean it and part of me thinks it looks just fine with the purple accent color.
I’m probably going to lay down and think about it while my kids rub my feet, then proceed to leave it there until someone “important” visits. If you come and find a white couch in our home, consider yourself held in high regard.
As for me and Mark, we keep going. He is doing great in his work as a scientist attempting to save the world at Novozymes. He also coaches our kids’ sports teams, works out semi-regularly, and serves as an amazing husband in every way imaginable. One of my friends once asked “Does he sh&% ice cream too?”
If I asked him, I bet he’d find a way. He really is the best teammate.
But I feel a certain level of responsibility to admit that life isn’t always perfect. I’ve been riding some hormonal rollercoasters since having four kids come out of my body. Sometimes mothering in the midst of those waves is challenging. I also miss my family dearly and wish someone would finally figure out how to teleport humans instantly from one place to another. I mean seriously science people, what is taking so long?
Until the so-called “smart people” figure things out, I’m left relying on things like social media to see what’s going on with family back in Minnesota. I get home sick as I think about all the relatives I grew up around but I know our summer visit will come before we know it.
Until then, I leave you with some pictures from our last summer’s visit to Minnesota. Imagine them on a cute card waiting in your mailbox.
Happy St. Patty’s Day from the Schultes!
Bottom two images taken by the wonderful Jen Meneghin of Jen Meneghin Photography in Minnesota.