The ‘Big Man’ Next Door

So we have this neighbor.  Truthfully I’m not really sure who it is.  That’s how things go when you live in the country.  Your neighbors are half a mile away, but you can still hear what’s going on at their house.

Anyhow.  We have this neighbor that has a rooster.  Putting it in the nicest term possible, the rooster has a few screws loose.  As in, he’s a few fries short of a happy meal.  Not the brightest crayon in the box.  You get my drift?

I always forget about this particular rooster.  Our house is pretty solid.  Good insulation, etc.  When the windows are closed I don’t really hear much going on outside.  At least, nothing that I can’t tune out on a regular basis.

But it’s spring.  And it’s nice out.  With that being said, the windows are open.

This rooster has his days and nights mixed up.  Or his mornings and afternoons messed up.  Simply, something in this rooster’s head is messed up.

He crows ALL. DAY. LONG.

Often I get up earlier than A.  I like to be able to get a cup of coffee in before the mayhem starts.  And we’re not talking super early.  Maybe 6:45, 7:15 at the latest.  The ‘Big Man’ doesn’t start crowing until at least 9:30.  Then it will go on until about 2:30 in the afternoon.

Like I said, he’s got a few screws loose.

Couple that with the goats our other neighbors have and it routinely sounds like a barnyard around here when the windows are open.

Such is life in the country.  It’s kind of entertaining to hear the ‘farm sounds’ without actually having to take care of any of them.  But some days?  Some days, I want to take an alarm clock down and gift it to the silly rooster.  Maybe he just wasn’t taught time in rooster school?  Or, maybe he just likes to sleep in?

Those little noises.

Right now, it’s quiet here.  It’s a rare phenomenon.  A is in bed, C went to the store.  The fuzzy, four legged daughter is passed out on the floor.  And here I am, typing.

The little man is doing some major flips in my belly right now.  If I’m being honest, I’m quite concerned this kid is going to be so wrapped up in the cord when he’s born that he may not come out easily.  But, despite the rambunctious tumbling, he’s ‘quiet’.

I need silence to think, to write.

Before A, I don’t think I realized how much my life would change.  In good ways.  Amazing ways.

Except for the incessant noise.

She’s at this phase now where she’s learning to ‘back talk’.  It’s pretty incredibly funny.  But it’s also kind of annoying.  If she’s not back talking, she’s yelling at the dog, or singing to the birds, or banging pots.  It’s never quite here anymore.

But those few times that she has stayed at Nana and Pop’s house overnight?  It’s sickeningly quiet.  It’s hard to focus it’s so quiet.  I try to get things done, and I still only get half of the tasks done.

Because it’s too quiet.

I know that I sound a little backwards.  What do you want, Erin?  Quiet or noise?

I want both.  I miss the quiet time that I can just reflect.  I can do my morning devotionals peacefully and really spend time with God.  I feel like, even though now my faith should be stronger, some days it’s just not.  Instead of my quiet time with God, it’s prayer time with a toddler.  If you’ve ever made the switch, you know what that’s like.  Trying to teach a toddler to pray is hard work.  But her faith and her relationship with God is super important too.

But, if A wasn’t here?  If we didn’t have one child, with another on the way; if we were still the simple minded, single newlyweds?  I would never have known the joy that all of these little noises bring.  The learning that is happening on a daily basis.  The intense love that I feel for this little human being.  It’s big and it’s real.

I know there will come a day when we will be empty nesters.  I will have my quiet time back.  But just thinking about having that quiet house is enough to bring me to tears.  I’m blaming it on the pregnancy hormones right now.  Though really, I know it’s a lot deeper than that.  Because I now know what I didn’t know before.  The love for your child is like no other, noises and all.

One Bad Ass Mom

I got the chance to visit my old workplace with A the other day.  We took lunch in for a friend and got to eat in my old lunch room.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year and a half that I quit a job I loved, to pursue a job that I (most of the time) love, too.

That new job was to be a mom.  A stay-at-home mom, but a mom, nonetheless.

I miss the identity of being a nurse.  But I love being the wife, homemaker, MOM, of our household.

There are many hats that I’ve worn.  So many things I can claim.  Though, a lot of days, it feels like I’m ‘just a mom’, and that’s it.

The truth for me is this: I love it.  But I hate it.

I love that I am raising our daughter (and soon a son) the way that we want them raised.  I love that I can have dinner on the table for my family every day, promptly, at 5 o’clock.  I love that I can do what I want, when I want, even though I have to schedule around nap times, bedtimes, plan ahead with toddler snacks and cups, diapers, etc.  Some days it’s a struggle.  But it’s worth it.

From the outside looking in, it looks like a fairytale.  It is, in some ways.  At least once you get used to it.

But what I really hate the most?  Is that now society throws this blanket statement over me, and other stay-at-home moms, that we’re ‘just moms’.  All those things I did in the past?  Doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  All those life experiences that taught me to be the mom that I am?  Who cares.  You’re ‘just a mom’.

You want to know who I am?  I’m a daughter, a wife, a Christian, a niece, sister-in-law, aunt, and a friend to many.  I cook (and I’m pretty damn good at it), I clean, I garden.  I’m a kick ass knitter, and I’m pretty awesome with a sewing machine, too.  I’m a swimmer.  I love barre3 (though not when this terribly pregnant).  I’ve been on a pretty amaze balls missions trip to Guatemala.  I was a lifeguard for 5 years (miss the ‘tanning’ perks of that job…)  I’ve made it this far into parenthood without driving a van, and I’m pretty sure that streak will stick  (sorry to my friends who are van fans).  I was a pretty sick cello player; spent EIGHT FULL YEARS as first chair.  I was a Farm Show Queen, and I rocked it.  I still hold a valid nursing license.  I was a pediatric nurse for 5 years, and THAT is pretty kick ass, too.  I can drive a truck AND back it into a parking spot in one shot (go ahead, dare me).  I can shoot bow better than my husband (though, don’t bother asking him, he won’t admit to that).

I’m pretty bad ass.  I’m not ‘just a mom’.  True, I’ve got the battle scars to PROVE that I’m a mom.  But I am so much more.  I’ve done so many things in my life, that at this point?  At this point, no.  I’m not just a mom.  I am a bad ass mom.

And my fellow mom friends?  You’re bad ass too.

So this Mother’s Day, I’m going to celebrate who I am right now in life.  I know I will always be a mom.  That became a reality on May 1st of 2013.  At this point, I am really in the thickest trenches of parenthood.  But I am also celebrating who I was and reminiscing about all of those other battle scars I got (they definitely weren’t from playing cello….  maybe I shouldn’t go into detail on some of those).  And I am celebrating the fact that I lived through those years and that I can now say that because of those experiences, I’m not ‘just a mom’.  I am a bad ass mom.

❤ One bad ass mom

Homeschool

I’m starting to slowly start the process of narrowing down how we are going to be doing A’s schooling.  It’s a daunting task, not without it’s own set of challenges.  But in a lot of ways, I’m pretty darn excited about it.

I guess we haven’t necessarily publicly come out and declared that, yes, we will be a homeschooling family.  So there it is.  In black and white.  Say what you will.  We have our reasons for it.  Some based on bigger issues, some based purely on convenience.

We’re starting A in ‘preschool’ this year.  Granted, the curriculum we have chosen to pursue at this point is geared more towards 3/4 yr olds.  But, amongst some other deciding factors, we thought that starting a year earlier for her developmental delays would give us a head start of sorts.  If we repeat preschool a few years in a row, it’s not the end of the world.  Really, preschool is just a lot of reading stories and doing activities that go along with the story read for the day.  But at least I will have a way to gauge what she is learning and what we should work on throughout the year.  Who knows, maybe we will have a genius until this is all said and done and she will go to college at 14?  Please, baby girl, don’t grow up THAT fast….

I’m learning that it’s a good idea to keep track of your school days.  Some states require written proof that you homeschooled a certain amount of days of the year.  It’s nothing formal, you can just take a calendar and cross off days that you actually sat down and did school.  No big deal.

Except, that I’m planning a 4-day school week, all year round.

That in and of itself has a ton of perks.  Nothing wrong with being able to randomly take off a week in the spring, just because you feel like it.  Then too, over the winter we don’t have to worry about snow days.  Because guess what?  We’re already ‘in school’.  Not to mention, we have a ‘free day’ each week that we can do whatever the heck we want!

Though legally I don’t have to report to the district that we are homeschooling until shortly before A turns 8, I’m still trying to get in the habit of planning our year out.  That too, despite the burden of planning a year ahead, has its benefits.  I can look ahead and plan her lessons around what were doing.  We’re going to the beach in late September.  Guess what we will be talking about the week before?  THE BEACH!  And I’m even thinking of throwing a few beach themed books in the packing list so that we can still (somewhat) do school when we’re on vacation.

That’s the beauty of homeschooling.  It never stops.  Even if you’re a full-time working parent, your children never stop learning.  We can take any experience and teach off of it.  And I think that’s what excites me the most.  I can teach my own kids about the world, just by our regular everyday experiences.

School ‘officially’ starts in our household on August 3rd.  More to come as we develop more definitive plans.  And any tips or suggestions are welcomed and appreciated!

❤ Erin

For my little boy.

Hey little man.

You’re not here yet.  At least when I’m writing this you haven’t yet arrived.  But that’s ok.  I still know you pretty well already.

I know you have one awesome big sister.  Well, two actually.  One is a four-legged sister.  She’s fabulous too.

Your big sister, A, I don’t think she really knows that you’re coming soon.  She likes to rest her head on my belly.  But I think that might just be because it is a convenient height for her to rest on.  You’re pretty lucky that she’s going to be your big sister.  She likes her one baby doll and is really good at taking care of her.  But she likes trucks and dirt and tractors, too.  She’s not too much of a “girly girl”.  She likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I think, someday you’ll probably like that show too.  But she also likes Sofia the First.  That’s about a princess.  You might not like that one too much, even though there is a prince in it.  I hate to break it to you, but she’s your OLDER sister.  That means she is probably going to boss you around a little bit.  So, if Sofia is on?  You might not get to change the channel.  Sorry buddy.  You’re the younger one.  You’ll have special privileges too.

And your four-legged sister, Autumn? She’s great.  She’s so gentle and tolerant.  And if there’s something you don’t like to eat, I bet you can convince her to eat it for you, probably without me or your daddy knowing.

Speaking of, your daddy is pretty fabulous, too.  I know, because he had to learn how to be a daddy with your sister.  I didn’t think he had it in him to be the daddy that he is.  But wow.  You’re very lucky.  He’ll teach you, and your sister, all kinds of things.  And I’m sure he will teach you how to be a good man, great husband, and a wonderful daddy, just like him.  Though, maybe we can hold off on the ‘husband’ and ‘daddy’ stuff for awhile, okay?

When your sister came she gave us a little bit of a scare, shortly after she was born.  And we had a rough time with her for the first 2 months.  Someday when you’re older I’ll tell you about that, but right now it doesn’t really matter.  But, I would be really happy if maybe you could just come out super healthy and we can go home when we’re supposed to as a family.  Think you can spare me that heart attack?  You will have plenty of other opportunities to scare me senseless.  Maybe just this once you could give me a free pass?

You’re a busy guy already.  It won’t surprise me if you are easily catching up to your sister in the next few years.  She’s got a lot of energy too, though.  So, it might take you awhile to keep up with her initially.  Momma is gonna be tired out, for sure.

I have a lot of hopes and dreams for you, sweet boy.  I won’t ever tell you what to do with your life, and I won’t ever hold you back.  I made the same promise to your sister.  But I do want you to be caring, stick up for the underdog.  Be respectful of everyone, regardless of who they are or how old they are.  Love everyone and don’t judge; there are a lot of very different people in our world today, that don’t have our same beliefs or same lifestyles.  But I still want you to love them as if they were our family.  If you make a mistake, it’s ok.  We all do.  But you need to own it.  Don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong.  Learn how to treat others.  I hope I can be a good example of that to you and A, but I know somedays I won’t be the best I can be.  If ever you think I am making a mistake, or I am not ‘practicing what I preach’, call me out on it.  It might upset me at first, but I will be so proud of you for standing up for yourself, and standing up for what’s right and what you believe in.  Most importantly, I want you to love God.  If you get lost in your life, as long as you have Him you will have a way out.

Buddy, I love you so much already.  I didn’t know what love truly was until having your sister.  I love your daddy, definitely.  But when you have kids, you’ll understand this different kind of love.  We are all so excited to meet you, to make our little family of 3 (and Auty), a family of 4 (and Auty).

Until we meet,

❤ Momma