Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hiking Little Si: Sticking Together.

I know that I need to catch our blog up, but since it is 2:15 a.m. right now, I don't have a lot of time and wanted to instead write about an experiences so they won't be forgotten.

Hiking Little Si

Last Saturday was such an emotional day for me.  Oh wow, where do I even start?   If you could cram all of my fears into one day, it would have been the day.

Earlier that morning I got up early and got Riley and myself ready and headed into downtown Seattle so that I could attend the Recording Academy's Engineer Tech Summit Conference at the EMP.  I've attended this event in the past and thought it would be fine to bring Riley with me since last time it was in a rather large hall with standing room in the back where I could hang out with Riley incognito.

However, I found that this year they held the event in one of the smaller theaters.  Here was me at the back of the first seminar...

And as you can also see, 90% of the people attending this event were men, in their 20-30s, total hipster nerdy engineers, not married or with children.  I figured bringing Riley with me would be perfectly all right though since he is typically a SUPER well-behaved baby and would just sleep through it.  And just because I have a child doesn't mean I should exclude myself from my career - I mean I know plenty of other female musicians who tote their little ones around. It's a package deal. I'm female and I'm an artist so deal with it.

However, I found the entire experience to be very much the opposite of what I hoped it would be.  Riley wasn't sleeping through it because the speaker's microphone was so loud, and so I spent a lot of time out in the hallway with him in the Baby Bjorn trying to walk/bounce him to sleep.  

Here we are hanging out in the women's bathroom...

As soon as I would get him to sleep, they would play audio samples at very loud volumes and so I would slip out into the hallway with him yet again only to find that they were pumping very loud rock music out there as well.  It was, afterall, the EMP building (Experience Music Project).

I ended up feeling very out of place, a little frustrated, and missing my family. I really wanted to just get out of there and spend the nice sunny day with Will and the boys.  I also was just feeling really self conscious even though I was trying to give myself pep talks like "Who cares if you are carrying extra baby weight and are not feeling your most confident? You are an established musician and deserve to be here. Screw anyone who gives you weird looks for bringing your baby, they will see how quiet and well behaved he is and not even remember he's there."

But I ended up leaving after the first talk.  

After a somewhat stressful morning filled with facing the reality that I'm probably not quite ready to face the world of my music career again quite yet, I decided to do some retail therapy at Target and then go home.

I got home and so enjoyed the nice sunny weather and NOT being stuck in a room with a bunch of studio musicians and engineers talking about bit rates and files and so forth.  I explained to Will that since I had cut out early, a friend at the event really wanted me to try to return later that evening for the after-party so that I could network.  I really did not want to go. All I wanted to do was spend time with my family.

And so instead, we decided to go for a family hike.

Will took us to Little Si, which is the little "hump" of a mountain on the lower portion of Mt. Si (the huge mountain you see from downtown our little town).  The boys were asking him how long the hike would take and he said "An hour up and an hour down."

We didn't start our hike until about 6:00 or 6:30 p.m.

I was really excited about the hike because it had been a couple of days since I had been able to get a workout in. I'd been playing hostess and tour guide to some music friends visiting from India...

The first part of the hike is quite steep as you climb, and at 11 weeks postpartum even though I've been working out at the gym for 5 weeks, I found the hike to already be hard.

I should also note that my feet were already hurting before we began our hike because I spent a lot of time standing at the EMP event earlier that day. And so I asked Will if I could try out a pair of his running shoes since my feet were hurting from my own shoes.  So he lent me a pair of his running Hoka's.

But halfway through our hike, my feet were hurting me so incredibly bad I had to keep stopping to rest them.  My arches were hurting the most, and also my heels. I had to keep repositioning my weight to my toes to get the weight off the rest of my feet.  Eventually Will offered to trade me shoes.  So we traded and I then was wearing a different pair of his running Hoka's.

(Shoes at beginning of hike, and shoes at the end of the hike)

During the hike, Will kept explaining to Taylor and Preston that it was training them for Disneyland (we're going in July) because we would be doing a lot of walking when we are there.  

They were such troopers!  Even with Preston taking a total nose dive on the trail and skinning up his chin, elbows and knees he was so happy to be hiking. He brought his school backpack and filled it with Nutrigrain bars for the hike.  And Taylor, bless his heart, was doing SO good as well. His little legs were keeping up with the rest of us.

As we continued on the hike, I was really feeling the pain in my feet as well as how incredibly out of shape my body was.  Cardiovascularly I was doing great, but because I have so much extra weight on me right now from my pregnancy, it's kind of like carrying the extra weight of a 5 year old on my body as I'm trying to climb up this mountain.  Not to mention my body is still recovering from having all of the Relaxin hormone in me for 9 months, my hips are still trying to go back to normal, and I still have a hard time fully lifting my legs up (like stair climbing) both from pregnancy but also the Csection.  Thus, any time I had to climb up high rocks or high steps it was really hard on my hips and knees.

Eventually, all the boys were way ahead of me on the trail as I was having a hard time keeping up with them.  And Will kept doing this annoying trick of telling me that the top was just "right up there", but then when I would get there, I would discover it was still WAY further to go. 

It got to a point where I was in a lot of pain and was tired, and honestly it was making me really sad.  I felt so incredibly disappointed in my body and in myself.  I compare myself too much to others and my brain was feeding myself a lot of negative self-talk on the trail ("you are so out of shape", "You are so overweight", "Other women have already lost all of their pregnancy weight by now", etc.), which was effecting how well I was accomplishing this hike and despite my efforts to think of ANYTHING positive to counteract this, I simply could not.

I found myself crying, and so I would have to stop or I would hyperventilate - which totally gave me flashbacks to 7th grade when I had to run the mile in P.E. and couldn't do it and started crying and hyperventilating because I couldn't breathe through my crying LOL.  Seriously, I felt so pathetic.

I wanted to give up, but I didn't know where the boys were so I forced myself to keep going.  

My feet were in so much pain.  I remembered an exboyfriend who told me he had to go home early from his mission because he had broken several small bones in his feet from excessive walking and didn't even realize he had done it.  I kept wondering if I had broken bones in my feet right then but didn't know it.  

As I was hiking up, I could hear finally hear my boys and Preston was shouting "Good job Mama!" and he and Taylor would clap for me.  They did this several times for me, but I couldn't look up as I was too embarrassed to let them see the tears on my face.

They once again got pretty far ahead of me on the trail and so I couldn't see them, but I knew I was nearing the top.  As I was doing so, I realized that the trail was starting to veer near a cliff (where rock climbers usually roped and climbed up).  I have a MAJOR fear of edges to the point of having panic attacks.  It's NOT the same thing as having a fear of heights. I do not fear heights.  But I fear falling off of edges and so anything that involves a drop-off ledge, bungee jumping off of bridges (for example), skiing on very steep black diamond runs, etc....these things are all examples of situations that scare me into panic.

The top of the trail you had to hike across a small section where I could obviously see that there was a rocky ledge on one side. And honestly my first reaction was to stop right there and either turn around or wait for the boys to come back down.  But I was so close to the top I didn't want to give up and quit then.  

As I kept, slowly, trying to reach the top I realized I could not hear the boys. As I realized this rocky ledge was going all the way to the top, in my mind I could only imagine my little boys playing around near the ledge and Will not being to have enough hands to manage them. My WORST fears started to set in and I could feel myself starting to get panicked.  Now it wasn't just a goal for me to make it to the top, but it was out of an extreme motherly instinct to save my children.

I know that sounds extreme and Will had things under control, but you have to understand from my perspective as a mother, these are real feelings and thoughts that go through my head. I have a MAJOR instinct to protect my children wherever we go because I cannot afford to take chances. My mind thinks the worst.  I imagine them getting hit by careless drivers while they are riding their bikes on the road, or a stranger taking their hand in a crowded place....or whatever.  And so I am always a bit overly cautious when it comes to them.

So at this point, all I can think about is getting to the top so I can hear their little voices and SEE them to verify they are all right.  Adrenaline is an amazing thing because where I was ready to give up a few moments before, I now had a burst of energy to make it to the top as fast as I could to find my children.

As I made it around the corner I could hear them and I again, started to cry. I could also hear Riley crying and any other moms to newborns, breastfeeding newborns that is, you know that feeling you get when you hear your baby crying out of hunger.  Anyway, this time I was just sobbing because I was just filled with so much emotion - from being disappointed in myself earlier, to then having fears about my children getting hurt....and then hearing my baby crying...

As I neared the top, again, Preston and Taylor were cheering me on saying "Good job Mama!".  I was heaving breaths in hyperventilating at the top because I could not hold back the crying as I was so relieved they were okay.  The first thing I did was ask them to please get down from the edge. Will told me it wasn't an edge and if I would just step up to the top of the rock I would see for myself that they were fine. 

I didn't care.

This was no time to convince me otherwise.  

I just needed them to get down and for us to turn around and head back down the trail RIGHT NOW.  I didn't even stop to rest at the top even though my body ached and hurt so badly (and I had been dreaming of at least a 15 min sit-down break at the top).  I didn't even care that Riley was screaming for me to feed him. I need my children OFF the top of the mountain.

Until we passed the ledges and drop-offs and got to a safer place I would not stop.  Finally down the trail I found a place with a rock where I could sit and feed Riley.  And Preston got out his Nutri-grain bars and the boys devoured them.

After a few minutes some hikers came up the trail and Will said "Oh hey!". They were runners from his Seattle Mountain Running Group.  I was totally embarrassed - both because I had my bare breast hanging out of my shirt breastfeeding Riley (thinking nobody else would be on the trail), and also because I was feeling so bad about my body. I couldn't even look up to say hello or be part of the conversation.  I felt like I didn't deserve such a fit athletic husband at that moment in time and I didn't want his friends to see that his wife was so overweight.  I looked away and pretended to be too busy nursing to talk to them.

I know you are thinking I am so hard on myself, but I am not nor have I ever been okay with my body being overweight. It is a huge struggle for me.  But with each pregnancy it has happened and it is what it is.  And I'm trying to get the weight back off but it is a super slow process for me (I don't lose weight nursing) and in the meantime I have to deal with my self esteem issues because of it.  I am constantly having to practice positive self talk and to remind myself to be kinder to myself, but it isn't always easy. And at that moment in time I just wasn't able to find anything positive about the situation and myself.

After Will's friends left, he mentioned that we needed to get going because the sun was setting.  He asked me how my battery was on my phone, and I asked why and he said because we would be hiking out in the dark and would need the flashlights on our phones.

Another fear of mine:  the dark.

Oh, and:  wild animals (bears, cougars, etc. which ARE present in these mountains and sighted every so often).

Of course, after hearing that, I started hiking down the trail pretty fast.  Preston was keeping up with me, but Taylor was having a harder time since his legs were so short.

Eventually, we got to a wooded part of the trail that was so protected from the sun we had to turn on our flashlights to see.  I asked Will how much further we had to get back to the car and he said we were about half way.

Half way?  Holy cow.  It was already pretty dark, and my phone battery was already down to half.  So I started to worry.

At this point, Taylor was getting tired and it was taking a lot of encouragement from both of us to keep him going.  Mind you he was doing EXCELLENT, especially for a 3 year old.  But he was slowing down and kept stopping whenever he had questions and we had to keep reminding him to keep walking.  And Preston was complaining that his feet were hurting.

I told Preston that my feet were hurting pretty badly as well, but let's hold hands and walk together and sing songs.

I will admit that it was probably me that needed him to hold my hand more than the other way around, because all the way down the trail Preston was SO positive.  He would say things like "Here is my favorite stream!" or "I love hiking, this is so much fun."  He was really such a delight.

We sang songs like "Row, row, row your boat", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "You are my Sunshine", and "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree".  We would stop every so often to let Will and Taylor catch up with us.

I kept watching my phone give me pop up warnings "15% battery left, please connect to your charger". "10% battery left...". I told Will that I was getting "S-C-A-R-E-D" (spelled out so kids wouldn't know).  He said everything was okay.  We all sang songs together and kept talking so we would forewarn any animals that might be along the trail.

As we were continuing to hike down, I thought about what if we ran into a bear, or cougar, what would we do?  Did I remember the protocol? Do we stop and cover our heads, or do I make large gestures and try to be as tall as possible?  Which is it for which animal?

I thought about our family hiking together in the dark. It was no longer about how sore my muscles were, or how my feet ached, or how bad I felt about my body.  It wasn't important any longer.  All that I cared about was my family and getting us back to the car okay.  I kept praying in my mind to Heavenly Father to please protect us and help us to make it home safely.

We finally turned a bend in the trail where we would be descending down the last portion of the mountain back to our car. We knew this because we could finally hear the traffic from the town at the bottom.  My phone warned me that I only had 5% battery life left and so I told Will that Preston and I were going to not wait for them anymore but walk as fast as we could back down the trail before my phone died.  Will's phone still had battery life left and so I knew he would be okay with Riley and Taylor.

Preston and I held hands and hiked down as quickly as we could while trying to scale down tree roots and large boulders on the trail.  While we were singing songs and talking, I told Preston that it would be good if we said a prayer. And so while we hiked I said a prayer out loud asking Heavenly Father to please bless my phone that the battery would last long enough for us to make it to the bottom of the trail.

We hiked further and further and then all of a sudden - BLACKOUT.  My phone died.  I got scared for just a moment, but told Preston we just needed to let our eyes adjust so we could see in the dark.  And after 30 seconds, I could see the parking lot through the trees and realized we were only about 100 yards from the bottom.

I told Preston "Preston Heavenly Father answered our prayers! He helped our flashlight last long enough for us to make it to the parking lot!  See, did you know that ANY TIME you need help, or if you are scared, you can pray and Heavenly Father will hear you and answer your prayers?"  He listened and believed me.

We made it back to the parking lot and Preston instantly sat down to rest his feet.  Moments later Will, Riley, and Taylor came down the trail.  It was about 10:00 p.m. by that time. We all cheered for each other and when we made it back to our car, we gathered for a group hug. Our spirits were high and I felt so grateful that we all made it.

After we made it into our seats I explained to Will that the entire day basically threw every fear of mine my way and it was such an emotional experience but I was just so glad to be with my family and that we were safe. That was all that was important.

I can only think of that experience and say that there was a special feeling as we worked together to make it back to the parking lot; cheering each other on, singing songs, praying together, etc. It is a lot like our journey here on earth and helping each other make it back to our Heavenly Father.

I love my family. And when it comes down to it, that is really the most important thing in this world.

P.S. Funny thing on the trail - we passed two male hikers that were shirtless and looked like they had been working pretty hard.  After they passed us, both Preston and Taylor said out loud (quite loudly) "Ewe, peeee-you they are stinky!!  STINKY!!!"  The guys heard them and laughed.  And after that, every hiker that passed us they would out loud determine if they thought they were stinky or not. Most of the time it was "They not stinky." LOL

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Update

Whew!  I just spent the last 2 hours blogging on my Belly Diaries Blog, and also here on our family blog about Riley's blessing and Mother's Day.  Lately I've been trying to lump it all into one update post, but I waited too long and there was too much to post so I had to split it up.

So if you want to read my other 2 posts, they are here:

Mother's Day
Riley's Blessing Day

Finding the time to blog has been hard to come by lately.  My last blog here (aside from the ones today) was April 26th. It's already the 21st of May so it's almost been an entire month.

I'm not sure if it is because my memory is bad and I am just forgetting how hard life gets with a baby, OR if it is true that having 3 kids is harder than 2.  Either way, I have kept very busy lately with the role of motherhood and it has left me little time to do things (like blogging).


I will say that I do get some things done - but it's just takes me three times as long to get not even a quarter of the amount accomplished.

With that said, here I am at 12:20 a.m. while the rest of the house sleeps and I'm going to finish blogging tonight gosh darnitt.  Because who knows when my next opportunity to do so will be.

Oh and beware this post will probably be long because obviously I have a lot to catch up on now...and I shall do so in chronological order.

April 27th - Home Decor Projects

No he wasn't my project. But he did sit in his bouncy and watch me hang pictures on the wall for a bit, or was in the Baby Bjorn being toted around while I worked on projects.

He was 6 weeks old in these pics...

Ok sorry, I just love taking pictures of him and I usually only select a few to post on social media, but in my files I have TONS and want to remember them. So I try to always post more selections on our blog.

Now to the projects...

I have found a website called Wallums.com, and of course there are a lot of websites that sell wall decals, but I just happened upon this one from Groupon I believe.  I have been wanting to do some decals for a while, just "one of those things I'll eventually get around to doing". But I finally spent some time and found the perfect ones...

This one is our family name over our fire place...

I will say that decals are NOT easy to put on your walls.  They are extremely sticky. You have to get them aligned just perfectly. And it takes quite a while to rub them on/off the paper onto your wall.  Sometimes the letters would rip and I would have to manually stick them back together and hope for the best.  But in the end, it was worth the hard work.

Now hopefully with the humidity here in the Northwest they will stay on. :)

Now this next project was printing photos of baby Riley and getting him up on the wall so that he was part of our family. :) 

It's hard to tell what I did - but I had to take down almost all of these frames and move them in order to fit in new ones just right.  It took a bit of coordination and leveling to get it all right.  But you will see we now have photos of all 3 boys at 2 weeks old, and also a maternity photo of me.

Next is the wall in my music studio.  I didn't take a "before" but this wall had some vintage Steinway piano ads on there and all of my CD plaques.  I took those all down and put up the decal that says "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I'm possible." - Audrey Hepburn.

I also finally framed all of the awards and red carpet photos that I'd had laying around for the last year.

This last project I'll post about is something I've been working on for a while. I have been printing off family photos to put in this frame so that our boys can get to know and recognize their distant cousins and aunts/uncles.  However, we have too many family members to fit in this frame so I will be buying some other frames to fit the rest I couldn't fit in here.

I have more framing projects I'm working on but they are not done yet.  Will made the comment that I've been doing a lot of framing lately - but really it's because I've had these things sitting on the floor undone for a LONG time and I want to get them off my floor and hung on the walls.

The one I'm currently waiting on (it's at the frame shop right now) are some very special rare projects.  One is an original penned tea-stained print of one of my original compositions (upper left).  Another one is the front page of my first manuscript book that was signed by the world famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.

And the last one is a print of one of my Dad's photographs that he took of me at the Paramount Theater in Seattle for my last album.  I have an old gold picture frame that was my great-great-grandmother's.  I'm having them frame that print in the frame and it will eventually go next to our piano in the living room.

April 28th - Fun with Riley (6 wks old)

Again, I can't help myself with the camera around this little guy...

Before those pics were taken, this happened...

Yup. Sometimes I wake up with this guy in my bed between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.  Usually he feeds and I'm too tired to put him back in his bed. He is sort of a bed hog though :)

More April 28, 2014 - Stroller walk

This was actually a special day because it was the day I got clearance from my OB to return to the gym.  Kinda a big deal for me!

And I totally would have raced home to go to said gym, but things with the kiddos didn't work out. BUT I was there the very next day.  We did go on a stroller walk instead.

Photos between April 29 - May 3rd (from Facebook)...will try to caption as we go...

Ahhh my first day back at the gym! Had to document it...

Proof that I brought Riley with me too!  My trainer, Monica, holding him and in baby heaven. She says she got her "baby fix" holding him.

I got to visit my friend Missi - who had a baby 10 days after me.  So cute to see these two friends together (Mack and Riley!). Love Riley's cute smile on his little face...

Of course I had to take Riley's pants off to show off his chunky legs, since Mack had his pants off. 

Trying to get Riley acquainted with his crib...which he has yet to sleep in.

Had to take a picture of the tiger on his bum. So cute.

Straight hair...rare for me.

Good morning! Are YOU feeling cute today? I sure am!

Cutie froggie jammies.

My little church men...

Our neighbor's house across the street from us had a garage fire...

...And the boys had to get their firetruck out to play with. Of course.

April 29th - It's midnight and guess who doesn't want to go to sleep?

Preston's very talented drawings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which they called "Tinja Nurtles").

May 1st - I hate going to the dentist. My teeth and the amount of work I get done on them pays for my dentist's vacations. And whenever I go for a checkup it's never a happy little cleaning. But it's, without fail, a guilt ridden soul crushing hour of my life that I loathe. An hour that turns into several more soul crushing follow-up visits.

May 1st - Family walk to the park in the evening...

And getting eaten alive by mosquitos!

May 3rdSometimes you are so desperate for your baby to take a much needed nap you will drive to the grocery store and sit in the car just so they can snooze. Why haven't they invented a baby swing yet that simulates a car ride?

Help. I'm stuck under a pile of napping kids and I can't get up.

Riley taking over the bed in the morning...

All ready for his bath time!

Milk coma...I actually have a very cute video of him here on my phone but I'm not sure how to upload it.

May 4th was of course Riley's baby blessing, which, again you can read about on the previous post.

May 7th - The joy of cleaning and re-arranging furniture after company leaves. :)  No really, I like it.

May 6th - An awful day.

I remember this day. I won't go into details, but it involved my first day at the gym with ALL THREE kids which took me 2 hours to get them ready and out the door, lunches packed, baby fed, shoes on, everyone fed and happy...and then Will called and said he locked his keys in the car and had been waiting at REI in Issaquah for 3 hours for us to come rescue him.  Plans out the window.  Fussy baby. Preston was late for school.  and yeah...this was pretty much a great picture depicting the day!

May 8th - A great stroller walk!

May 8th - Yep, you guessed it. More photos of our Riley Finn...

May 9th - Seattle Mariner's Baseball Game

I have to say the SafeCo Field Park is awesome because they had a mother's lounge with recliners, TVs (to watch the game), changing tables and more.  I walked in there and never saw so many boobs.  Great to know I wasn't the only breastfeeding mom in the park and that they created a space for it.  One time we went to a football game at the UofW stadium when Preston was 3 months old and they didn't have any space like that.  One time I fed him while sitting on a toilet seat in the bathroom, and another time in a hallway (with my nursing cover).  I still got weird looks from people sitting there. Sigh.  So THANK YOU Safeco Field for having a Mother's Lounge!

Famous garlic fries...which gave us garlic breath for 3 days.

May 11th was Mother's Day...which, again, I blogged about separately so go back to older posts from today to see that one.

May 13 - Riley had his 8 week doctor appointment. We have a very healthy little guy! Weighing in at 12 lbs, 10 oz (65%).

He really struggled with his shots for a few days afterwards. He was super fussy, feverish, and sleepy. Our other boys didn't really react badly to shots so this was something new...

Getting things done while he sleeps in the Bjorn...

May 15th - Preston had his Kindergarten musical "The 3 Piggy Opera" which was SOOOOO cute.  Our little farmer sang his heart out!

May 16th - New Hair Color

Ok so I debated for weeks about my hair color. WEEKS about whether to keep getting blonde highlights or to go back to my natural color which is pretty close to this:

I finally decided it would be nice for a change to go red again.  I brought in several pics to my stylist.  I showed her the following one ONLY to illustrate the sort of highlights I wanted up front.  But apparently she misinterpreted what I said to mean I wanted that color of red.

Which is pretty funny since I told her the two things I specifically did NOT want was the purple-ish kind of red, or a fake looking red. And that is exactly what I got and I really hated it. I wanted to cry.  She tried to lighten the color right afterwards but it only made it more dull.

So I ended up having to come back the next day. They had to "lift" the color by bleaching my roots for a while, and then the rest of my hair. Then they conditioned it. And then they put in a different red color.  But apparently my roots took to it much better because they still ended up quite darker than the rest.  


In the end I got hair that was a color I did NOT want.  It is way way too dark.  However, in certain lighting it looks great. I only wish it looked that great in natural light.  Here it is...

I was trying to match my babies...and sort of missed the mark. Oh well. He's perfect.

"Uh, Mom, what did you do to your hair? Wait, ARE you my mom?"

Taylor actually said he did NOT like my hair - haha.  At least he was honest.

Anyway those photos are all beautiful and I do like my hair in them, but today I took some selfies in the mirror and I would say this is more like the real color in real life.

So anyway.  11 hours total sitting in a salon chair for hair color I'm not really happy with or didn't want. So I will be going back in a week or two to get it lightened and fixed AGAIN. I just need to wash it some more to see if the color will lighten and also to give my poor hair a break.  My scalp actually got a slight chemical burn from the bleach and it still itches.

What did I do with the boys during that time? Well Grandpa played with the older two, and my poor mom came to the salon with me (which is at the mall) and watched Riley the entire time only bringing him to me for feedings.  I felt SO bad.

Oh well. Lesson learned.

May 18 - My view at church (with Riley in a cute church newborn onesie).

May 19th - Boys in trouble.  "Let the punishment fit the crime."

So like I was saying, it's not been easy adjusting to 3 kids and finding time to do everything. So when I DO find the time to actually clean our home I would really appreciate it if it stayed that way at least for 24 hours.  Well, while I was breastfeeding Riley upstairs (which ties me to a chair), I later came downstairs to discover that these two had made a huge mess of the house and also were playing in the dirt outside.

They had tacked in mud through the house and also dumped piles of it onto our walkway and on the porch.  Also left their toys out everywhere.

So for about an hour I made them clean.  We also had a big lecture on obeying their mother (because earlier that morning I had to use the scare-tactic of pretending to leave them at the park because they were not coming to the car when I called them).  They cleaned their bedroom, made their beds, did their own laundry (well, put it into the washing machine), cleaned their bathroom, and then finally I made them sweep up all the dirt outside off the cement.  As you can see Preston wasn't too happy about this part - haha.  But since then their room has been super clean and they haven't played in the dirt - AND it's been 2 days since. Success!

May 20th - A family picture that Preston drew.

Here is a family portrait drawn by Preston, our almost-6 year old. He is getting so creative in his drawings. He drew each of us and wrote our ages on our bellies. Although, apparently I am taller than Will and I am only 16 years old.  Oh, and Riley is 3 and he is 0 years old. Whoops. Still cute.

May 21st - Still working hard.

Just thought I would throw together a little comparison of myself from last summer to now.  Obviously gaining this weight was part of bringing a baby into our family and I am so grateful to have him here.  But I do have my work cut out to get my body back and I have been busting my rear at the gym.  The progress is slow going but I am determined.

I am also trying to eat healthy of course. I still love my chocolate and have to have some every day but I am making healtheir choices and saying no to lots of things.

Protein waffles -  YUM.

Veggies, veggies, veggies...

May 21st - Morning time with 2 of my boys (the other was watching a movie).

Today was one of those days where this little guy just wanted to cat nap. He's fall asleep for 15 min and then wake up, cry, and need to be held or fed or rocked.  One of those.  Then fall asleep again, and repeat.  

So it's pretty safe to say I didn't get much done today - which is why I am now still blogging at 1:58 a.m. because I know it is my only chance...

Oh this was yesterday....

Oh, and I can't end this blog without including Will's many adventures...

May 17th - Traversing up an avalanche shute on Mt. Si...

May 12th - Will rode his bike to work. About 70 miles round trip.

May 2nd - view of Tahoma

April 30th - Race Day - Done! 10 laps, 37 miles, 35,000 cumulative elevation change. 12h18m

Ok and the rest of these are pics I grabbed off of the sky drive from Will's phone.  He does take photos but just forgets to tell me about it or show me or post them, and so here are some funny hidden ones...

Preston reading an entire book (yes the entire book) to Riley. SO thoughtful. So cute.

A deer party in our back yard.

Apparently the boys thought it was a good idea to eat mom's brownies. All of them. For breakfast. And Dad thought it was funny to document it.

Grandma T holding Riley at the Mongolian Grill...

This was last night at Costco. Check out Taylor's face - haha.  Anyway,we bought a smoker. We shall be having many smokey salmons and other yummy meats in the coming years.

Anyway. Whew.  SO that is the picture update for us.  

Other than that, overall we are doing really great.  I think we are still adjusting to having a baby but it is getting more routine as time goes on.  We haven't had a date in 2 months - but the thought of having a date with a baby with us sort of spoils it. So then we say we will just have an at-home date night after the kids go to bed.  Except Riley takes sometimes until 11 or 12 to get to sleep (but he stills until 6 or 7 a.m.) so that sort of kills that idea. Haha.

Having a baby is always an adjustment for a family though.  The dynamics are just thrown off a bit, not everyone gets enough attention, moms feel exhausted and like a milk machine, the kids just want their mom but she is busy with baby, dad tries to help out but he's exhausted as well because he's working and trying to relieve mom when he gets home at the end of the day.  BUT it's all good.  We know it's just a transition period. We love each other and are surviving it and having some good times as well (obviously, as you can see from my blog post).

I will admit that I do struggle with music and wanting to get back to it - but not having the time or inspiration to do so.  Some days I feel like well this is it. I'm done. I can't do music any more with 3 kids, it's too hard.   But I don't know that the Lord would bring me this far into my career to say "that's all, you're done."  Don't misunderstand, I am LOVING having a baby and am so grateful for him and our family.  I wouldn't trade it at all.  But the Jenni part of me (not the mommy part) does want to have that creative outlet again and right now it's just not there, nor is it possible for me to really find time to locate it.  Every waking moment is really spent taking care of people, with the few moments in between I can try to stuff some food in my face and take a shower. :)  

So anyway.  There is a time and season for all things.  I know that. I am just trying to learn to accept it.  And I hope and pray that when the time is right again Heavenly Father will bless me with inspiration.

All right. Well it is now 2:17 a.m. and I am going to be paying for this tomorrow! Whew!  Goodnight!