Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Day

There are so many things I need to catch up on, on this blog. But first things, first...

One can not neglect for family history purposes to remember my 40th birthday. We wouldn't want generations from now to have no recollection or knowledge of the love I have for October 22nd.

My birthday.

Despite this birthday being my 40th, and stereotypically a much celebrated birthday, mine was very low key. Probably the lowest key birthday I've had in years and years, due to the timing of our NYC trip. (We returned home last night and some parts of real life today couldn't be neglected.)

But...
It was still a wonderful day. Ellie took this hilarious photo of me. It looks like it was posed and planned, but really I was laying on the couch doing nothing for a portion of the afternoon (it was my birthday remember!), and we started talking about birthday photos and lo and behold a photo op ensued.
Oh! And check out that new birthday shirt added to my closet this year! Loved wearing that and the hat for most of the day.

Of course, I couldn't neglect getting flowers for my mother...after all, she is the reason this wonderful day of the year even exists.

Happy Birthday TO ME.

Why yes, my birthday cake does have a hole in it you wonder. Why? Because upon my arrival home from NYC last night, my mother had kindly left the cake on my kitchen counter with a card stuck in it. I removed the card, and someone (who shall remain nameless, but is the only person older than me in this house) thought he should "fix the hole a bit," Which in cake-talk translates to "eat a little bite."
Like I said, my birthday was low-key and cake and ice cream was served for dinner. Yep! You read that right. FOR DINNER. I had a big lunch with Mike earlier in the day and wasn't hungry for dinner, Ellie had gymnastics, and time was running out. So... when the children queried what was for dinner I replied, "Cake and ice cream!" Drew yelped, "This is the best dinner ever."

I'm a good mother like that.
But I will add, an apple was cut up and served on the side.

Hooray for turning 40.
Having a birthday is THE BEST.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Megan and Drew

Though there is some definite musical talent with each of our children, the first and the last have a love for music that goes far beyond talent alone.

Megan and Drew will often be found in the piano room singing, playing the piano, playing the harp, conducting music, etc.

This little duet they did yesterday afternoon made me teary for so many reasons.

I don't think you have to be LDS and/or recognize the song to appreciate the tenderness of the singing. Megan will be less than thrilled that her singing has to be heard first, but Drew's part and then the duet part is too tender not to share.

And I know I'm biased, but seriously, take the almost two minutes of your day to enjoy it.

PS-And who can't love almost 13 year old Luke's enthusiasm for his little brother's performance at the end of the video?!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

16


I can remember the morning of October 12th, 1998 like it was yesterday. I was laying on the couch reading a Time magazine (was I ever really interested in that sort of thing?!?), and Mike sat in the office a few feet away working. I was wearing black leggings and a black and white striped t-shirt (the good old-fashioned baggy maternity type shirt) and as I got up to go to the bathroom, I questioned aloud, "Do you think this baby will ever really come?" (At my appointment the Friday before, the doctor had suggested I wouldn't make it through the weekend.)

My somewhat rhetorical question (Mike wasn't really listening to me anyway) ended up being a premonitory question, as my water broke just moments later and I suddenly went into a bout of denial that the baby really was coming, and told Mike it wasn't really a big deal, and we could just wait before doing anything about the issue at hand.

I remember every detail of the hours that followed but I'll spare you the details. And now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, sixteen years have passed since that Monday morning when I wondered if Megan would ever really come.

Sixteen years!!
Megan Eliza is 16!




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brief Blurb

I have all sorts of blog post ideas written down on my writing list, but realistically, they just aren't getting written right now. Life has been very busy lately. A good busy, but busy. I have decided to take a much more active role within our company, and I have found myself capable of contributing some of my strengths to the business as a whole. There are some really exciting opportunities for me on the horizon, and I look forward to it. I am stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, and it feels good.

I also have found myself focused on my mornings with Drew. He wants to be outside playing most of the time with his friends, but I have made a very deliberate effort to really live each morning to the fullest with him. Next year he'll be in 1st grade all day. It is no longer a day I anxiously anticipate, as I always thought I would.

I'm also trying my hardest to be really, really present with my children after school. Some days it is hard. Too often five children talk to me at once, there is far too much homework cluttering our time, our kitchen table and our moods, and the fall weather is beckoning my children to be outside after school rather than working on their spreadsheets (chores/responsibilities). I'd be lying if I said that I never second guess my decision to let them be children first and foremost. But that's what I'm trying to do. There's still so much responsibility to teach them, chores for them to do, lessons they need to learn, homework that must get done, program guidelines they need to follow, etc. etc. etc.

But the stark realization that they are only young once rings through my head constantly, and that makes it easy to prioritize things far easier than it was, say, 3-5 years ago.

As a result of all of these things, some things (like writing) are getting a little neglected.
And that is OK.
(Repeat that three times in your head Tiffany. It is OK.)

As I've said before, I love Instagram for this very purpose. It provides a quick, snippet of a day or a moment and I'm hoping that years from now that simple photo and comment will be enough to recall a wonderful memory.

My life is full of so many moments worth remembering, and I'm realizing more and more I can't write essays about them all. Instead, I have found myself stopping what I am doing and basking in the moment with my child(ren). I've found myself looking in their eyes more, and letting distractions get in the way less. My children still make me crazier than crazy. But I shouldn't complain.

The messes, homework, scattered laundry, meal preparations, fingerprints, discarded socks, sand everywhere but the sandbox, garbage left in the car, cupboard doors left open, wet towels on the floor and hairdryers in the sink will not last forever.

This blurry photo is a prime example of what I'm trying to do more of...weeks ago Megan asked me to buy a few jars of baby food (some "okay" tasting ones, some disgusting ones"). I bought them and they've sat in the pantry since a couple weeks ago on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the children perched themselves up to the counter and begged Mike and me to administer the "tasting game."

It wasn't anything that memorable, but we all took turns laughing and it was a perfect example that a "nothing", really was an "everything." I love that I don't even have a decent photo to capture the memory...that isn't what it's about.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Drew is FIVE and a HALF


A half birthday according to Drew...

"Aagh. I have to do homework? Well, it's my half birthday."
"Why are we having tacos for dinner? I should pick dinner. It's my half birthday."
"Can I not do my spreadsheet today? It's my half birthday."
"Luke! I get the first piece of cake. It's my half birthday."
"When are we eating the cake?" (repeated 3,473 times)


Monday, September 29, 2014

Life With Me Around

(Keswick Hall, VA--where my BFF and I stayed last week. More on it later...)

I returned home last night from having spent the last 6 days in Virginia and the Washington DC area. I vacationed alone with my BFF for the first part of the week, and then spent the last few days with my brother and his family in the DC area.

It was a glorious 6 days.

I've had the opportunity to travel without Mike or the children a fair amount the last year and a half, and I've done a little evaluating about the pros and cons of my absence. Though the children certainly don't jump up and down at the thought of me leaving, they do look forward to a little slower pace, a little less uptightness surrounding chores and schedules, and they enjoy the definite change in the routine.

Last night, after only being home about an hour, I was sitting at the kitchen table talking with Mike while Luke unloaded the dishwasher in the background. Out of the corner of my eye I observed him precariously balancing a glass dish sideways in the cupboard in a type of Tetris format. I snapped at him, as I also saw several other dishes in the same cupboard that didn't belong there.

Obviously a result of my absence for almost a week.

There were also no eggs, no cheese, no fresh fruit, and very empty fridge shelves. The result as Megan succinctly concluded, "Dad refused to go to the store." "The lack of food and the optimism that I'll grocery shop soon may have had something to do with the fact that just an hour after my return she said, "It's just sooo nice having you home."

On the flip side, the house was very clean (a couple of rooms were/are the exception). Which according to Luke was because, "All we did the whole week is Dad made us clean everything perfectly everyday." I was greeted last night with clean sheets on my bed (LOVE), and all homework was obviously completed and signed. (A pleasant contrast to the spring when I went to Europe and I returned home to find every single homework paper of Joshua's undone in a pile on my desk for me "to look through.") Overall, life at home didn't really skip a beat.

Mike and I are both pretty uptight parents, but in different ways. So in day-to-day life our children often don't get a break from crazy parents. I think they thrive well every once in a while to have a change of pace. I love that when I leave town, Mike and my children fully support me in my absence. Nobody minds that music doesn't get practiced quite as often, or that dirty socks lay in all the wrong places for who knows how long, or that nobody thinks to dust a piece of furniture.

Well, I kind of minded about the influx of dirty socks on the floor. But knowing the big, long list of things that DID get done, and all "the extras" Mike allowed seep into the week for the children makes me feel grateful that though they prefer life with me home, they know how to have a good time and survive just fine while I'm gone.

As Mike said last night, "I'm so glad you're back. I feel like I couldn't do my work well, or the home life well. It takes two of us." Mike and I make a pretty good team. I'm glad to be home. I have absolutely fallen in love with traveling and feel beyond blessed with the opportunities I have had to travel a fair amount, but there is truly "no place like home."

Dirty socks included.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Siblings

(A little Sunday afternoon balloon football game)

The other day, one of my children was telling a story about something a friend's family did, and as part of the explanation, the child explained that the friend was an only child.

The listening sibling said somewhat tenderly, "No brothers or sisters? That's sad."

It warmed my heart to think that one of my children would consider no siblings a "sad thing." I found myself noticing for the rest of the afternoon all the things that my children were doing with each other. 

Things like:
Luke took Drew on a horse ride.
Joshua and Drew were playing Hot Wheels.
Megan and Ellie were doing hair together.
Ellie and Joshua were on the trampoline.
Megan and Drew were singing a song.
Drew was sitting on Ellie's lap.

Yesterday morning, one of the children did their regular morning routine stuff a little out of order, and found themselves in a hurry to get showered and dressed. The change in this child's morning routine resulted in the bathroom being occupied when they were ready to get in the shower. The in-a-hurry-child stood at the bathroom door yelling at the sibling inside to hustle,and yelled further accusations that the occupant was probably sitting on the bathroom floor doing nothing. It resulted in yelling and anger from the in-the-bathroom child.

I kindly (it took great restraint) told the in-a-hurry-child they would need to go get in the other shower instead.

Within seconds of that suggestion, I heard screaming and crying from a third child. Wondering what in the world was happening, I hollered upstairs, "What happened?"

As the story goes, an innocent child was standing naked at the shower, literally ready to step in when the in-a-hurry-child pushed the naked sibling out of the way and took possession of the shower instead.

The in-a-hurry child was the same sibling, that a mere 36 hours previously had declared it to be "sad" that somebody would have no siblings. I'm not so sure (s)he felt that same way about the thought of not having any siblings on Wednesday morning.

In fact, I'm quite certain that on Wednesday morning none of the siblings in the Sowby Home would have agreed with the earlier pronouncement that being an only child was "sad."

Sometimes a houseful of siblings is not all it's cracked up to be.
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