Friday, December 28, 2012

To My Little Dude....


I love you.
I love your fire for life.
I love your stubbornness.
I love your bright eyes.
I love your sloppy kisses.
I love your dimple in your right cheek.

I love your sticky fingers.
I love your hearty belly laugh.

I love how completely masculine you are.
How you automatically jump to the rescue of your sisters and your mama.
I love watching your Daddy play with you.
I love you.
All of you. 
From your sleep-walking-into-doors, random roaring,  ready smile, and death stare - I love it all.

When you decided to make your entrance 2 years ago - I didn't know how utterly different things would be with a boy. Seeing the differences has deepened my love for all 4 of you children.

Your birth was not what I had envisioned - but it was perfectly you.  Funny, spontaneous, calm, crazy.

I don't know where these last 2 years have gone, but I'm pretty sure I spent at least 50% either changing diapers, feeding, or parenting. :)  I'll admit, I'm nervous about the upcoming year with Daddy gone. You are so much of him, parenting without him is going to be extra hard.

I can't believe you insist on growing up! I wore you in a sling or a back pack constantly...hoping it would delay your walking. (Not really!) But on this day last year - you took your first step. At your Great-Grandpa's funeral. It seemed so fitting that as one passed away, a little one took literal steps toward independence.

Your vocabulary is/was very limited...primarily filled with grunts and pointing....since you have 3 sisters talking for you. But the flood gates opened in October when you learned a key word (you already said "mama," "dada," "No," and "NOOOOOOOOOO!")  POOP. That is right. Poop. Somehow, being able to say that word opened the door for all sorts of other words. Now, you rarely say them in public...but I'll take whatever I can get.

All in all, my sweet baby boy, this mama loves you.
Your mischievous grin, blond hair, he-man walk, monkey dance, and eye-popping anger (that will most likely need meds or therapy) - I love it all. 

Some days you will not be very happy with me - with the rules, with the responsibilities, when I tell you no. And that is okay.

But know that no matter what you feel about me - my love for you will never change. 
I will always love you.  
And potentially embarrass you. 
But definitely love you. 


~Whitney Copyright 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I love being Mama.

LOVE it.


This last week, I would have really, really, really liked to have a substitute. A stand-in. A wife-of-my-own.

I've had my fill cleaning up bodily fluids....all 5 of us had the flu. It was awful. TERRIBLE.
I'm tired of comforting someone else while concentrating to re-lift my eye-lids.
I'm tired of waking up every 30 minutes dealing with someone's nightmares.
I'm tired.
Really, REALLY tired.

And I'm tired of laundry.
24 loads in one week...and one still on deck.
(For some strange reason, I thought it would be interesting to keep a running tally of how much laundry I had to do when the flu hit our house. The jury is out on if this was encouraging or demoralizing.)

In fact, I'm so very tired of laundry....that I might have gone slightly psycho today.

My Bitty Bean - whom I love, even though she is still allergic to pooping in the toilet - fell asleep in the car on the way to piano lessons.

After String Bean raced inside, and Jumping Bean unbuckled, and I unloaded Boy Bean (who had to be carried because his shoes were miraculously eaten by the Swagger Wagon), I went out to wake the sleeping munchkin.

She had an accident.
All over her princess dress.
All over her car seat.
Into her brand new running shoes.

I didn't have a spare outfit, or shirt, or anything.
No panties.

So with 3 wipes and a too-small-diaper stolen from her brother, I cleaned her up and covered her business.  But it was chilly tonight - she got pee on her jacket - I couldn't just let her go naked!

Typically, at least one of the girls is wearing numerous layers and could spare some article of clothing; not this time.  I was wearing my basic workout pants and top...although they were not worked out in today. (gotta stay honest)

I gave her my shirt. She thought that was the funniest thing EVER.

Then I zipped my fleece up to the very top. 

As I was placing Bitty Bean's soaking wet things in a bag, I just started crying.
I honestly don't really know why.
It could be because I'm tired.
Or because I didn't want to have to go home and do dinner and clean up and homework and bed time. Or maybe because I feel extremely behind schedule because of when the flu hit.

But no, I am pretty sure I was crying because I didn't want to do any more laundry.

I had spent most of my day rescuing the house from our illness...but when we returned it was still a wreck.



And one very industrious 5 year old who thought decorating the kid table with a pencil was a good idea.

We danced through dinner. (A complete cop-out for me, I made pancakes.)
Then we all snuggled down in blankets on the floor and watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer as dictated by our Advent Calendar/shoe box.

And you know what?

I love being Mama.

LOVE IT.  :)

~Whitney Copyright 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I'm about to open up a scary can of worms.

About myself.
About separations.
About fear.

I try to keep a good face on separations and deployments - we picked this life, we knew this would be part of it, we've even had an easy time of it compared with most families.
But the truth? Well, sometimes you can't plaster a smile on.  Sometimes, even though I answer "fine" - it is only because I know you can't fully grasp...or don't really care to know...the full answer.

How are you?
Such a tossed-around question. So rarely meant.

How ARE you?
For real.

For real?
For real, there are times fear grips my soul and I toss, sleepless, even though I'm exhausted.
Fear? Of what?
Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Fears for safety.
I don't know a military wife who hasn't had to grapple with the idea of someone knocking on their door. The fact that a normal part of life is updating wills and talking about what to do if he dies before he returns. Now, the odds are definitely in our favor - but the possibility is still there.
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed and tired and it doesn't matter because I must keep pushing.
Fear of failing on my end of this team. Of letting down the Beans, letting down My Love.
Sometimes I just reside in the land of "If." A place of unknown, no peace, and unrest.
Most days I can fight it.
Most days I'm not fearful.
But there are nights.
Nights that just seem to be laden with fear.
Sometimes I want to cry - even though I don't have it that bad.
Or even bad at all.
I know the truth....

2 Timothy 1:7 - 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, 
but of power and of love and of a sound mind

Just some days it is harder to remember the truth.

How am I?
I'm surrounded by people all day - people I love! But the nights are hard. The meal time battles, the baths, the homework, the bed time routine, the kitchen clean up, the laundry, it is just a lot to do. I'm not the first person - or the last - to go through this, but it is a lot. Some nights are easy.  Some are not. Some nights go according to plan...and then you have nights where you can't tuck a child in on time because they are crying over missing their daddy. Kissing his picture isn't good enough. And it falls on me to help their 3 year old heart understand and ease the ache. When something comes up with a boy and they need Daddy's perspective. . . all they get is me. When they wake up screaming from bad dreams - screaming for Daddy...they get me.
It is just hard.
And I have it easy. I am fortunate to be surrounded by friends who are like family. I even have family locally! I have an amazing community I can rely on...and it is still hard.

Sometimes I lie and say everything is great - because I don't have the time or energy to say otherwise. Sometimes I lie and say everything is great - because the person asking doesn't have the time to hear the real answer.
Sometimes I tell the truth and say everything is great - because it REALLY is.
Some days are easy.
Some days are hard - but it is easy to see the good, the funny, the beautiful in them.
Some days I am amazed at these wonderful Beans I get to hang out with and try my hand at training - because they are resilient. They are beautiful. They are strong. They are tender. They love fearlessly. They face fear and truthfully cry out for comfort.

So, when you think of me, could you pray that I do the same?

I want to face the fear and cry out for comfort.

 Copyright 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cocoa Bean Moment

I've had the gift of two special moments with my String Bean this past week...and I have to share!

In one 24 hour period last week, the man-child was possessed by the devil. He would not nap - he woke up hyperactive at midnight - didn't go back to sleep till 3 - and then was ready to kick the day in the teeth at 5 am.

I was tired. 

Add in that he and Bitty Bean had temporary onset of being deaf to my voice.
And Jumping Bean was on obedience strike. 
And Bitty Bean cried/wailed/screamed for the majority of that time. 

I was bone tired.
I was exhausted physically and mentally.
(Remember - My Love is still 3 weeks from returning home)

Wednesday night, String Bean slept with me - we went to bed at the same time and talked and snuggled. It was a special time just being together. She knew I was tired and that the other 3 children had depleted every resource I had.

So, in the morning, when Boy Bean woke up - String Bean heard him before me.  She got up and quietly led him downstairs. She put a tv show on for him...and the other sisters as they joined him on the couch. She got herself ready for school. She made her breakfast. She made her bed and picked up her clothes. She stayed completely on schedule.

I woke up at 7:30 and catapulted out of bed - we have to be at the bus stop by 7:55!  When I came downstairs and saw that my sweet girl had taken care of everything - I was flabbergasted.

That girl is totally awesome.

I pulled her aside and told her very clearly, "You are now my favorite child of all time."

She said, "I know."

"We're all your favorites!"

Then, last night, after picking chunky puke out of the carpet - it sprayed an area the size of Rhode Island; mopping the throw-up off the bathroom floor; wiping the spray off the bathroom door; and stripping 2 beds...she climbed in bed with me again.

As she lay there with a cold compress on her head, holding my hand, she said, "Mommy, I'm so glad you can take care of me."

"Me too." I replied. "What a gift it is that I get to be with you and take care of you."

"Mommy, what do the little children do who don't have a Mommy and Daddy to love them and care for them? Who helps them when they get sick? Are they all alone?"  And she started crying at such an awful thought.

I joined right in with her.

I talked with her about our friends who are foster parents and adoptive parents. How God sets the lonely in families. How sometimes the children stay alone - even when they are sick. Or how some children may be with their mommy and daddy - but aren't safe and loved and cared for.

That is when she said,
"Why did God pick me to have it so good? I don't think I thank Him enough."

So, last night, God used my 7 year old munchkin to challenge me. To change my perspective. To say again,

Why did God pick me to have it so good? 
I don't think I thank Him enough.

And that, is a sweet moment indeed.


 Copyright 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rock Star

So, you know those parenting moments where you are like "YEAH! I am TOTALLY AWESOME!!!"

You know the kind where the children are angelic and the entire evolution turns out BETTER than you imagined?

Well, tonight was not that night.

(Last night was though!)


For the first time in the history of me being a mother...we are doing an Advent calendar. I grew up with an Advent calendar full of chocolate and remember LOVING it. So, I thought I'd do something similar for my beans...but with a twist.

Twist 1 - candy only happens on, like, 3 days.
Twist 2 - there are activities, service to others, special memory making moments, and a couple gifts, scattered throughout the 24 days.

To put tonight in perspective, you need to know that Saturday (day 1) was a home run. I mean the kids LOVED opening the box full of envelopes and seeing what the day would hold.

"Write a letter/draw a picture for someone you love who DOESN'T live in our house"

They raced to the box of paper and crayons and sat down to create...Bitty Bean chose her Sunday School teachers, Jumping Bean choose her kindergarten teacher, String Bean chose her 2nd grade teacher, and Boy Bean picked his Papa. (For real - he pointed at his picture and said "yes yes"!)

all in jams heading to the lights!

Sunday (day 2) found us putting jams on and loading in our swagger wagon to hit up some Christmas lights. Norfolk's Botanical Garden does an AMAZING job and the children LOVED it. Squeals of delight, echoes of "WOW", "look at that!", and "it is sooo beautiful!"filled the car for 45 minutes. Total and complete WIN.

So today (day 3), when they raced to the box with eager anticipation, I was pretty sure tonight would be another WIN.

"Have marshmallows and hot chocolate for dessert after a cheese fondue dinner."

I mean, c'mon. How fun is it to dip food in cheese? Broccoli, wienies, bread, cauliflower...all things they love...being dipped in their favorite melty cheese!

Well, apparently, the texture was "totally weird." (String Bean)
And the taste was "gross and sour" (Jumping Bean)
And the consistency was "icky icky sticky!" (Bitty Bean)

Boy Bean is currently my favorite because he ate it (begrudgingly), but since he doesn't speak, I don't really know how he felt.

Bitty Bean and Boy Bean actually didn't eat lunch....they weren't hungry. So I felt terrible making them go without dinner too! I offered to make them a PB&J. Which they each consumed 1/4 of.

Poor Jumping Bean and String Bean had hearty lunches - and the volume with which they protested our special dinner did not earn them points.  No alternate food option for them.

Onward I persevered, thinking surely hot/warm chocolate and marshmallows will gain favor with these ridiculous food critics!


Too hot.
Too cold.
Even the Boy stuck his tongue out at the marshmallows!

Oh well. You win some and you lose some!

Guess we won't have any birthday dinners at the Melting Pot. :)

~Whitney Copyright 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh Poop.

You think your job is crappy?

It is unfortunate for my children that I have a blog. 
Because, when we have experiences like we did this week, I put them on the world wide web. 
No longer do embarrassing stories stay relegated to the baby book or the birthday dinner. 
Now they are easily accessed by anyone in the world. 
At any time.

Payback is sweet.

Poor, poor, Bitty Bean. She has regressed in her potty training. For some reason (Most likely because My Love is away) she has not pooped in the toilet for the last week.

She has pooped. Just not on the throne.

(Which is odd because she has not had a problem with it for over 6 months, and I totally call it a throne and let them be Queens when they use toilet.)

I would like to say that I have been a calm, kind, and loving Mommy every time I have scraped poop out of her underwear and then washed them in the toilet.

I can't. 

I have lost it and gone close to stark raving mad most times.

In fact, on Thursday when she called my name from upstairs and I went to see what she needed and I looked up and saw naked business covered in poop, I might have popped a blood vessel. But when I went in the bathroom and accidentally placed my bare foot in still-warm-poo on the just-mopped floor...quickly lifted up my foot...lost my balance....and planted my foot in another piece on the freshly-washed rug....something snapped.

I told that little Poop Power Plant to stay right where she was. Then, I went into my own bathroom and muttered many unwritable things under my breath.

Eventually, I was able to clean her, the floor, the rug, and the toilet up.

So, that all brings me to Saturday. Saturday. The day where Boy Bean decided it was his shift at the Poop Power Plant. Before I continue about him, let me say - he has pooped every day this week. Like clockwork. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon - perfectly on schedule.

But Saturday would have convinced anyone that the work site had been under construction for a while, because, he loaded 9 - NINE - poop diapers.

I apologize to the neighborhood for how much my trash bins stink. 

I wasn't upset, or even annoyed. Clearly, he needed to clean out his system. However, the veritable straw that broke this Mama's back....came from the Bitty Bean.

She was quiet - which is always wildly disconcerting in this house of insane mayhem - so I went hunting. There she was, hiding in the living room, with a green cloud of smog surrounding her.

This time, I didn't get angry.

I sat down and cried. 
Real tears streamed down my nose was already running from the smell.

Quietly I took her and the Boy to my bathroom to clean her up and bathe them both.

And that is when I discovered Bitty Bean's current poop in her panties....was her 2nd of the day. I knew that because, dear people, there was poop clearly smeared on the front of my toilet...on the toilet seat...and a slight smattering on the floor.  As I wiped the tears and squared my shoulders for the next cleaning job...

She slowly turned her big, brown eyes at me and said, "I just wanted to clean it up!"

And then, I laughed. And showed her how to use a Lysol Wipe.

At least my bathrooms are getting clean!

 Copyright 2012