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Monday, February 29, 2016

2015 was the year.

2015 was a pretty big year for us.

2015 was the year for ER visits.  We hit our deductible and drained our HSA account.  Maggie fell down the stairs in March and needed several stitches on her forehead.  Schroeder fell off the countertop in April and hit his head.  He clearly had a concussion so we took him for a CT scan.

Stephen made two emergency trips to the doctor.  Coincidentally, both within 24 hours of leaving on vacation.  On the first morning of our road trip, he wasn't feeling well, and had what I would call a mini panic attack in the car.  He wasn't sure if he was having a heart attack, but he was having trouble breathing.  It turned out to be an intense case of heartburn.

In October, Begbie, our dog, bit him on either side of his chin.  He had to rush to get stitches and head home to attend our friends' wedding.  Being the ever supportive wife that I am, I asked him to please act as normal as possible so I could enjoy the night.

2015 was the year that I pierced my nose.  I celebrated hitting my wedding weight for the first time since Penelope was born.  I also decided I liked to watercolor.

2015 was the year Stephen cut his hair and donated all ten inches of it to Locks of Love.  He also finally added those two extra arrows to his tattoo to represent our two littlest girls.  His quiver is full.

2015 was the year of lots of traveling.  We travelled to St. Louis with our big kids for spring break.  Stephen and I flew to San Antonio on our anniversary.  We took a trip to Tennessee with my parents and siblings in the fall.  Stephen's grandma passed away at the end of November so we went to Georgia for her funeral.

We also took our much anticipated road trip out West.  It was such a dream come true for me.  I wanted to drive and watch the land change before my eyes.  I wanted to hike with my kids and help them find the beauty in nature.  The kids seemed to really like the whole adventure, and when they started to complain, I shoved Swedish Fish in their mouth and said, "You're having the best time ever."  Swedish Fish are convincing.

2015 was the year our dog, Begbie, died.  He was old and having health problems.  Then he bit Stephen, and we just couldn't risk that happening to our kids.  We were all sad, but D'arcy was really devastated.

The situation was redeemed, though, when Grandma and Grandpa helped us surprise the kids with a new puppy for Christmas.  We decided to name her Georgia.  Dogs are good for the soul, I think.

2015 was the year that we kept working on our house.  Nothing new here, really.  We've been plugging away at this since we moved in five years ago.  We've been trying to make it totally functional and our own.  This year, we did tackle some bigger projects, though.

Stephen and I can never seem to agree on how to prioritize these projects.  We finally decided to borrow some money to complete each of our top choices.  We put in a new kitchen floor.  We insulated our attic.  Our biggest project was to reconfigure our stairs.  The old ones were steep and terrible and led to Maggie's forehead scar.

2015 was the year that our nephew Solomon was born.  Stephen was able to get the first peak of him when he travelled to San Francisco in September.

2015 was the year I feel like I became the mom of school aged kids.  This is D'arcy's 7th year in school, but there have always been more kids at home than in school.  I've felt like the majority of my focus has been wherever the majority of my kids are.  It's a tricky business having so many kids who are all at different points in childhood.  Figuring out what each of them needs and divying up you energy and attention is difficult.  I've been tempted to feel guilty for my lack of involvement in what is happening at school.  But, now, I see my attention shifting.  I spend my afternoons resting because at four o'clock when most of my kids get home, there will be conversations, and homework, and chores, and dinner, and inevitably discipline to be dealt with.

I really love having kids who can hike and swim and read and play games and ride bikes.  I'm really relishing this stage.  But, I also still have two girls at home who are preschoolers, and I want to savor these last three years of being a mom to little ones.  I want to still go on playdates and read lots of picture books.

2015 was the year I think I felt the full weight of having five kids.  There is definitely juggling that goes on, and I try to keep our lives and schedules simple to avoid more of it.  Despite being pretty lazy parents, there is still a level of work that has to be done everyday.  That work is draining and I feel stretched.

2015 was the year that church was a joy.  A couple of years ago, I mentioned in my year review that church was hard.  This year, the opposite is true.  Our community is enjoying a moment of connection and God is using that connection to foster spiritual growth.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I guess I'm a blamer.

My friend Julia was over last night.  Stephen was out of town, and she came over to give me a bit of adult company.  We were chatting about all sorts of topics.  I was telling her about the communication cycle that Stephen and I can't seem to figure out how to alter.

I gave her an example.  On the way to church Sunday, we stopped at the donut shop.  He went inside, and the kids and I stayed in the car.  For some reason, he left the radio running.  The line was long, and it took him awhile.  After a bit, I realized what was happening.  I made sure the car would start, and then I took the keys out of the ignition.  We both know our battery will die quickly.  He came back with coffee and donuts.  He tried to turn the car on, but it wouldn't start.  I didn't realize the lights were on (it was almost eleven and sufficiently bright outside) and hadn't turned them off.

He suggests that we walk to church, and then he'll come back afterwards with someone to jump it.  Church is a mile away.  We have five kids.  It's January.  It's not super cold, but it's still January.  I had just taken the first bite of my long awaited Sunday morning donut.

I turn to him, and say in a reasonably angry and annoyed voice, "Why in the world would you leave the car on!?"

He does not receive this well.  He is defensive.  He tells me I always have to blame someone.  I tell him he never says he is sorry.  I tell him he never takes responsibility.  We walk to church mad at each other.

Julia, who is listening to my story, pulls this Brene Brown video up.  You should watch it right now.

Well, S**T.

I sent it to Stephen.  I was pretty sure he wouldn't be confused as to who the blamer is in the family.  I think he got a particular kick out of the fact that her husband's name is Steve.

So now I've got to figure out with what I should replace those beautiful, self-righteous fifteen seconds.