Sunday, March 31, 2019

Selfie Sunday

I take a fair amount of selfies with my kids but rarely of just me. I find though that I don’t tend to share very many of them and I’m not sure why that is.’s a bunch from the last few month or no particular order because I can't be bothered to put them in order!

All dressed up for my dinner out so snapped a few with my littlest cuties

And my biggest one too. The biggest little was down in the kid cave ignoring us.

New favorite family selfies, taken at the beach a few weeks ago!

WHY people, why? They are all so much like their father sometimes it kills me! 

Here comes a whole bunch of me and KJ. Because she seems to be attached at my hip lately there are obviously more of her than the other two kids!

Heading out for ice cream after dinner one night last week

Poor sicky baby girl

I love her hair and how it's growing in to a perfect little bob! and Hads playing some Operation on a quiet afternoon last week

Jordie boy and me at the park!

Random selfie with this big guy who is rarely around these days!

Little group selfie action

Back in early March when the Solomon's came to visit!

Proud of Jimmy for snapping this selfie while they were mini golfing!

Me and my girl Jenn with our ice cream during our random chance encounter at Putters one night!

Now a bunch that I never shared from the Canucks game we went to back in February. Such a fun night for me and my love.

And that's just from the last MONTH and that's not even all of the selfies we've taken. I take pictures almost every single day of the year and I don't see that changing until all of my kids hate me and won't let me take their photos anymore. But until then I'm going to keep at it. One day when they are all grown up I will make slideshows of them that show them aging right in front of my eyes. Then I'll probably cry :) 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

I gathered all my strength up and I found myself again

If you are a reader of this blog you might remember a post that I wrote last August called "Somewhere along the way I've lost myself" It was one of the most powerful and raw blog posts that I have ever written. It's been viewed more than 600 times and within minutes of hitting publish I got tons of comments, private messages, texts and just all around love from those near and far in my world. What was surprising to me was how the post seemed to be easy for those at a distance to comment and share with me how it made them feel, but those closest to me said very little, if anything, to me about how I was feeling, or how they felt after they read it.

Maybe some of them didn't read it, and that's okay. Like I said, I wrote it for me, not for those around me. But, in those moments after I hit publish and the support came flooding in, I was very aware of who did reach out and who didn't. I realized quickly that in order for me to get better, I was going to have to do it on my own. What followed for me was a long hard look at my life and the areas where I was struggling the most and figuring out how I was going to make changes to get past the previous 8 or 9 months that had truly been some of the hardest times of my life.

Now here's the good news...see this lady here, she is feeling more like herself again, but a new self. A self that is aware of her short-comings as a wife, mother, daughter and friend, but also really damn proud for working through the pain she was feeling and choosing to focus on things differently in order to get out of the valley she was in and back to the peaks of what life can be.

Today, she's happier than she's been in a long time and looking positively at the future ahead.  

Almost 10 whole months have passed since that time and when I think back to the weeks and months that led up to my writing of that post I realize that I was just so overdone with everything. Jim and I were struggling hard in our marriage and didn't seem to be seeing eye to eye on much of anything. His work schedule was changing weekly with no stability or consistency and I was struggling to feel in control of anything. I felt alone and sad and completely overwhelmed with my life. I was living this huge life that I had created for myself and while I wanted my kids to be involved in sports and activities and I wanted to continue to be involved in my all just felt so hard. I felt like I couldn't cope anymore with even the littlest of things.

By the time that camping trip hit I honestly felt like I had reached my scary breaking point. I've found since then that talking about that day is even hard for me. I've realized that it's not something that many people talk about for fear of being judged. I am afraid of people judging me too, but I'm writing this anyways because I know I'm not alone in how I was feeling that day. I felt like what I imagine people might feel when they are having a mental breakdown. I was so emotionally and mentally tired and sad. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of caring for the kids but just really wanting to escape.

I can truly say that I have never been so shaken to my core about how I was feeling and can honestly admit I was scared. I was scared I was going to hurt Kennedy out of frustration as I was just so tired, hurt, and angry at the world. I was scared that my boys could see the cracks in my trying-to-be positive exterior and they would realize I was broken inside. And I was scared I'd say something to Jim that I could never take back and would damage the bonds we had worked hard on for 15 years.

In looking back to where I was at that time, I'm not surprised that I cracked under the immense pressure I had put on myself to be someone I felt I needed and wanted to be. I had been back to work for a few months, and was juggling so many balls in the air. I was working part-time and running Jordie back and forth between preschool and daycare during my work day. I had a crazy screeching toddler that had a very stubborn little mind of her own and couldn't fully communicate what she needed or wanted. I was dragging Jordie and Kennedy to baseball and karate 4 days a week to watch James. Jim and I were attending couples counselling to work on our marriage and try to get to a better place in our communicating. I was busy with the Strata's two annual special meetings and the PAC fundraisers/Fun Day/budget planning, etc. I was also the division manager for James's baseball league. Then throw in attempting to see some of Jim's baseball games and multiple camping trips to the mix and I had had almost no time to just rest and be me at all. I literally had forgotten completely who I was and I was scared and sad and lonely. My feelings got hurt really easily and I was quick to anger and lash out.

The weeks following the blog post saw us having a much quieter August because I was just simply done. After that Texada camping weekend in early August we packed up the trailer for the year and I just admitted defeat. I realized I just didn't have it in me to do too much of anything apart from working and keeping the kids alive. Camping turned out to be far more stressful for me last year than it was fun. I have fingers crossed that this year will go much better! :)

Around that same time we decided to undertake the huge main floor reno of our home, and while most people would think that was crazy to take something else on in the state I was in, I truly believe it was the thing that I needed the most. I needed something big to change and I needed something positive to focus on. I was craving something in my life getting easier, and the reality is that although the reno was stressful, it has really improved our quality of life at home. I no longer feel like our living space doesn't work for us. Instead I've found a renewed love of the home that Jim and I started our family in and brought all of our babies home to. I still long for the day we will live in our own single family house, but for the next few years while we save for that I am now more content with where we are.

I feared that in the state that Jim and I were in at the time that the reno would be really hard on us and our marriage but once again it was exactly what we needed. I feel like it reminded us of how good of a team we really are together. We made decisions and plans, all while living with my parents and being just as busy and on-the-go as ever. Seeing how hard Jim worked on this project made me fall in love with him all over again, but in a different way. I believe that love changes over the years, and with each life situation that hits you, it changes again and again. It's how you react to these changes that decides whether your marriage survives or it doesn't. With each of our children's births we've had rough years and have come back stronger each time. This is something that no one really talks much about and I'm not ashamed of our history and the challenges we've faced. In fact, I'm damn proud of how far we've come over the last almost 15 years. I can admit though too that there have been times over the years that I have wondered (and I know Jim has to) whether we would make it or if we were truly meant to be together, but we always find our way back to a healthier and happier place again. Through the good and bad, sickness and in health, we are here and happy together, surrounded by the 3 beautiful little humans we've created together. Marriage is so damn hard, and marriage with 3 kids has been especially hard. I won't say I went into having our third child with a totally blind eye to how hard it would be, but I can easily admit I was naive and definitely underestimated how hard it would be and how much things would change. And no it didn't matter how much anyone told me it would change, I didn't believe it till I was living it.

Once September hit and Jordie was in school full-time and Jim's job had settled back into a somewhat predictable routine I felt like things calmed down and I noticed a shift in how I was feeling. October brought the move to my parents and the day in and day out craziness of the kitchen/main floor reno. Living with them was a total blessing and I couldn't have imagined if we'd tried to live in our house among the disaster. I definitely couldn't have done it and am so very thankful for all of the time and effort that my parents put into helping us with the project. My dad spent countless hours helping Jim at the house, while my mom was wonderful with helping me with the kids.

By the time we moved home in mid-November we were all so excited to get back to our regular life in our new kitchen and main floor. We settled into our normal busy life and before we knew it I was off work for 3 weeks for Christmas break. It was an absolutely amazing Christmas with the kids and we did lots of relaxing and fun stuff as a family. 2018 ended on a high note for me, after the first 8 months of hard times. I was really starting to feel more like me again and was grateful for the lessons learned through my toughest year ever.

2019 has been off to a great start for the whole Barrows family! It was around Christmas time that I noticed a huge shift in our KJ girl. She has grown up so much and although still a handful some times, she's communicating really well and is able to tell us what she wants, or more often what she definitely doesn't want. :) We've hit the terrible two's already but I'm finding in my new state of mind that it's not so overwhelming in those moments of hard times. The boys are just as busy as ever and have just finished their regular hockey seasons for the years. James continues to do karate for the time being, but we have not decided yet on the future of that sport for him. He has a tournament in May that we are all looking forward to and after that we'll see what we decide to do. Up next is spring hockey for James and then baseball seasons for both of the boys this year. April, May and June are going to be CRAZY for us with sports and activities and such, but I'm looking so forward to it too!

So, here's to moving forward to this busy season once again for us and going at it with a different and more clear head about me. I'm happier and more content than I've been in a long time, and even occasionally missing the young toddler stage that Kennedy was in at this time last year...but not enough to EVER wish I could go back to it. I'm thankful for where I am today and the life that I've created. I am proud of the hard work I did to make myself feel better and to get where I am today. I look forward to the upcoming seasons upon us and wonder where I'll be in another 6 months from now.

My goals for my life right now are simple and I want to put them here so that if I feel I need a reminder of them that I can look back at this post to remind me:

1) to be the best mom that I can. Not a perfect one because I know that just isn't possible, but a better one than I have been before. I want to spend quality time with them and continue to teach them and support them into being the best humans they can be. This doesn't mean I have to be at every single sports activity, or school assembly or class field trip. This means playing games with them, reading with them more, or even just getting outside for a walk or play at the park.

2) to be a better wife. This is a hard one for me and not because I don't want to do it, but because it just always falls behind on the priority list behind being a mom and taking care of the kids. And often that job takes literally all that I have in me to give and doesn't leave much of me to offer in a big way to Jim. I hope that somehow he and I can carve out some time for us together, just the two of us. We so enjoy each other's company most of the time, but stress hits and sometimes it's hard to remember that. We went away together last month and had the best two days together we had had since before Kennedy was born. We laughed a lot and talked about things that really mattered. I wish we could do it more often but it's just not a reality for us right now with where we are at with our kids.

3) broaden my circle and make some new friends. Don't get me wrong, I love the friends I have and cherish the bonds that I have with them, but I often am left feeling like I'm putting in more than I'm getting back. I'm learning as I get older that I really just want to be around people that want to be around me. I want to make the effort with those that want to make the effort with me. I want to be invited to places rather than feel like I'm always the one asking. I want to be the family that people want to spend time with, but I feel often like people say yes because the invite is there, but if left to their own devices we wouldn't necessarily be the first family they would chose to spend time with. And I have to learn to not take that to heart and go forward with my own life and when people want to be in it they will do some of the inviting too.

4) take time just for me. Even if that's just a walk around the block alone to clear my head. I need to remember that I'm important too and laying on the couch alone at night when Jim is at work is not the alone time I need. I need time away when my kids are with other people to just be alone. I need to find a good babysitter I trust to come to my house and watch them for an hour or two once in awhile! It all comes back to spending money on myself, because even if all I do is go for a walk, paying a sitter for 3 kids is expensive and it always feels like an extra expense that I shouldn't be spending.

5) put my phone down and engage more. I don't know anyone that couldn't do this more! I feel like I'm a slave to it sometimes, but other times like I could go hours without it. Many times when I'm with friends and family I find myself not even thinking about looking at it, which is a big shift from a few years ago when I was way more attached to it than I am now. BUT, even in saying that I know I could get better...and I will! It's my favorite and probably easiest goal that I can achieve.

In closing, THANK YOU to all those people that did reach out to me last summer with kind words. I appreciate that you took the time to tell me that I wasn't alone, although I felt so much like I was.

These 3 humans are the reason that I do everything I do. I love being their mom and hope that when they grow up they are proud of the mom and person that I was for them in their lives. I have high hopes and big dreams for the people that they will become and if at the end of my years on this earth I can say that I did nothing else other than raise good kids I will truly be happy.

And I of course can't forget this super special human too. I have loved this man for more than half of my adult years and we're creeping up close to the half of our lives mark. The past year taught me that even though some days (and years) are hard that I never lost sight of the love that we have and the memories that we've made over the years. I am grateful for my life with him. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Favourite Photo Friday - a new weekly post!

I think this one should be an easy one for me to pull off seeing as I take photos every single day!

Funny enough when I started to look through my pictures for the week I realized that I actually didn't even take this photo...and for once it's not of the littlest one that seems to be the most photographed these days. It was no different when my boys were little, they just happen to be near me the most!

Danielle sent this photo to me the other day when she watched the boys for me for a few hours. I love these four little monsters so much and a picture of all 4 of them smiling at once is rare!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Photos of newborn Kennedy Joanna

How is this little monster going to be two in just two weeks?? I'm throwing it way back to the first week of her life when we lived in the little hospital cocoon and snuggled and fed for hours on end with family visiting in between naps and check ups. Her birth was one of the scariest experiences of my life and I've never really shared much on here about how it all played out after the complications of my pregnancy. It's on the major to-do blog list, and maybe one day I'll get to it :) 

For now I'm going to drink in the memories of snuggling this little lady, my very last baby.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wednesday Wishes - Forever friends

My hope for my kids is to grow up to be friends as well as siblings. I love my brothers and couldn't imagine my life without either of them in it. I hope when my kids are adults and look back at their childhoods they have wonderful fond memories of growing up together. I have always hoped that in the future this blog will bring them lots of laugh and will act as a scrapbook for them to show their own kids one day of what their lives were like together.

These two have always been best buddies...until around the last year when the fights have started and more and more bickering. I hope we never get to the fist fights and all out drag em down wars that I saw from my two brothers! And if we do, I hope they get up afterwards and hug each other and move on with their friendship. My own two brothers aren't super close now but definitely have a bond and many memories from our childhood.

He's such a sweet big brother sometimes. Here he is reading to Jordie. That same night when Jordie was tired and grumpy about doing his laundry James stepped up and helped him get it finished, without me asking him to. 

 These two have the cutest bond these days. I often find them playing a game together or coloring together or just chatting away. 

He really just loves her and he is definitely her favorite buddy these days! He is always up for playing with her and she is so lucky to have such a great big brother in her corner.

Hahahahaha super blurry photo but so cute too!

Eyes glazed over from too much sugar?! Hahahahaha

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cute moment captured

This morning before I left for work these two came to say goodbye to me at the door. He asked for a hug and I was shocked that she actually willingly gave him one. She also leaned in for a smooch which I happened to capture too. The look of love on his face just makes my heart proud. He really and truly just adores her and I hope that never changes. She is so lucky to have him as her biggest brother and I hope she grows up to realize that he is always there for her, no matter what she needs.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

I know it’s Spring when... and dad are sneaking slurpies and ice cream after the kids got to bed!

A few nights ago we were thinking we wouldn’t get them again and then Danielle texted to say she was thinking of them since I mentioned them. So off Jim went for a treat for all 3 of us. Yummy!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

It’s the thought that counts

I’ve been working this week while Jim is on holidays with the kids. I was so touched on Monday when the boys walked up to my office with this adorable little plant. Lord willing I’ll keep it alive for st least a little bit! That night when I got home Jordie asked me if it was still alive. Hahahahah...these kids know my track record with keeping plants alive!

Didn't snap a pic on Monday of them but did yesterday when they came up again to say hi and bring me a cup of tea :) 

I love them so much and am enjoying seeing them during the day while they are on Spring break. It's so nice to live so close to my work...and to have kids old enough to walk here to bring me a treat! 

It really is the thought that counts. Small thoughtful things mean the world to me.