My Grandma Gerstberger

I miss my Grandma Gerstberger, my dad’s mom, very much. She passed away when I was eighteen, but I think about her frequently. 
As I was growing up, my grandma lived in Palisade, CO until my grandpa passed away (I was still very young). After that, she spent part of each year in Palisade and the other part in my hometown, Leoti, KS. 

Visiting my grandma in Colorado meant helping water her flowers, especially her rose bushes, climbing the big tree in her yard, bowls of fresh peaches with cream, riding our bikes up and down the road by her house, and spending lots of quality time with her. 
Her time in Leoti was even better, though, because we got to see her almost every day. I loved going to Grandma’s house after school and on the weekends. She always had something yummy to eat, and she wouldn’t listen to you if you said you weren’t hungry. When I was younger, we would play catch and whiffle ball outside. As I grew older, we loved to watch Jeopardy together and try to answer all the questions. Brutally honest, you could count on Grandma to tell you the truth. I remember joining band in fifth grade and arriving at her house with my flute, so excited. She commented, “I never really liked the flute,” yet she listened to me play and encouraged me to practice. If we got sick at school, we would go to Grandma’s house and sleep and watch TV while she took care of us; some days I wanted to fake sick just to spend the day at her house.

I spent at least one night a week with my grandma from 7th-12th grades, during the months she was in town, because of my church’s Wednesday evening classes. By the time class was over, it was silly to drive all the way home (I lived on a farm out of town) and then get up early to come back for school. I also stayed the night with her when I had other reasons I had to be at school super early: band trips,  Saturday wrestling meets after Friday night basketball games, etc. 
No matter how early I had to be up, she was up before me making a full breakfast. I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, but you just couldn’t tell Grandma that! Eggs, bacon or sausage, and toast were all piping hot and ready for me to eat before I left. 

My grandma was a farm wife and mother all her life, and she knew how to do so many things. She could cook, bake, sew, crochet, embroider, and more. She was also a wonderful artist, and I’m so thankful to still have some cards she drew for me. 

I wish I had learned more from her when she was still here. I learned some things, or at least kind of learned, when I was younger. For instance, one summer she taught my sister and I how to embroider; I remember stitching the tea towel I was working on to my shorts, by accident. My sister was always so much better at things like that, so I just let her learn and I did other things. I know that I can still learn these things, but it isn’t the same as learning from my grandma would have been. I wish I had learned from her when I had the chance. 

Grandma and I did have a few things in common, though. One thing was our love of reading. I have some very special memories of her reading to me when I was small; when I was older, we would give each other book suggestions. In fact, the week she died, I was supposed to go read to her. She had a stroke and was in the hospital, but the doctors were amazed by how quickly she was making progress in her recovery. I had been to visit her and told her I would be back to read to her later that week. She passed away before I got a chance to go back, and I will forever be sad about that.

I wish so much that she could have met my husband and my children; I just know she would love them. So often it is something small that makes me think of her: the ribbon candy she put out around Christmas, a box of chocolates, getting a letter in the mail (oh, how Grandma loved to get mail!), books – especially the James Herriot books, an episode of Jeopardy or The Price is Right, attempting to bake one of her recipes, or reading I Was Walking Down the Road, one of my favorite books to read with her when I was little, the very copy we read together so often, to my babies. 

 

 

At some point growing up, my grandma gave all of her daughters and daughters-in-law a large Bluebird of Happiness and all of her granddaughters a smaller one. I still have mine, and it perches in my kitchen windowsill, since I so often think of my grandma when I’m cooking or baking (even though my culinary skills don’t hold a candle to hers).Image

 

How very appropriate her gift, given several years ago, still is. 

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Exhausted and Eternally Thankful

Recently, I’ve been trying to get my students to use more specific words in their writing. 
For example, rather than:
“He was mad.”
I’ve been trying to get them say things like:
“He was furious/outraged/grumpy/crabby/upset/enraged.” etc. 

Yesterday, I was thinking about how tired I was, and realized that wasn’t the appropriate word. “Exhausted” is a better fit. 

Once upon a time in my life before children, I used to sometimes think I was exhausted. To be fair to my old self, I really was a busy person who often ended up feeling tired. In college, for example, I worked on campus, took 15-20 credit hours per semester, was a cheerleader, and was active in my church/church group. I would get really worn down sometimes, but I always had the option of sleep sooner or later. 

In my life now, that is not the case. 

Exhausted, my friends, is that bone-crushing tiredness you feel when your eyes shut without permission. Exhaustion has hit me hard these past couple of weeks; it has been similar to how I felt when the boys were just a week or two old. They have been teething and now have colds, so they have been up A LOT at night. In addition, I have now caught the cold they have, so my body is even more wiped out. 

My best friend since we were ten and her boyfriend came to visit us this weekend. We loved seeing them, but last night I literally could not keep my eyes open. We were all sitting around visiting and they just kept closing. I’ve been going on 3, 4, sometimes 5, hours of broken sleep a night (1 here, 1 there), teaching, and coaching, and I’m to the point of “exhausted.” I’m so thankful that I don’t do physically difficult labor; how much worse it would be! I’m on my feet all day, but it doesn’t compare to hard labor.

Last night was another three hours of sleep, and not all at once, night, so I’m thankful Doug was able to watch the boys for a couple hours before he had to go to work today. I got almost two more hours of sleep!

Even when I am so very exhausted, and even somewhat frustrated with the boys for being awake AGAIN (although it is really not their fault), I am so very, very thankful for them. I wouldn’t trade my exhaustion for a life without my boys, not even for one second.
I am so often brought to tears of joy as I look at my sweet boys. I play Pandora lullaby stations while I get the boys ready for bed or a nap, and the songs they play frequently aid in bringing me to tears. “I have loved you for a thousand years, I’ll love you for a thousand more” and the lyrics to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” are two that get me every time.

My children are such special, wonderful, beautiful, strong, smart little boys; I am forever grateful to be their mom.

I had two early losses before I had my boys; two very early miscarriages. Pieces of my heart were missing, and some days sadness overwhelmed me. In addition to grieving for the children I would never know on earth, the babies who I only carried a few short weeks, I began to worry if I would ever be able to have children at all. I was bitter and heartbroken and I was so frustrated with mothers who complained of exhaustion. I thought, I would gladly be exhausted every day for the rest of my life if it meant I could have a child. I watched other mothers do things like push their child on a swing, or reprimand their child in a store, and I dreamed that some day that would be me, all the while I worried that it wouldn’t. 

After those two losses, my pregnancy with the boys was full of worry.
If you’ve miscarried, there is no more naive happiness your whole pregnancy. You are constantly checking for pregnancy symptoms, searching frantically for any blood you may have spotted – relieved when you see none but panicky that you missed it. Add to that worry the fact that I was pregnant with twins, and twin pregnancies are considered more high-risk in the first place, and I was secretly a nervous wreck for most of my pregnancy. By the grace of God, though, my boys made it full term and came home healthy and happy.

I am eternally thankful for them. 

There are, of course, still small holes in my heart where my angel babies should be. Brendan and Cason, my rainbow babies, did not replace them, cannot replace them, though they have made life so very bright and happy. On some level, I will always grieve for my angel babies. I cannot wait to meet them in heaven some day, but it is still difficult to have to wonder who they would be were they here on earth with us. Had my first angel baby stayed in my womb, he or she would be over a year old now. My second would be a year old very soon. God had a plan, obviously, because had either of those first two babies been born, we wouldn’t have Brendan and Cason. 

I am incredibly exhausted, most parents are, but I gladly accept this exhaustion because it means I have two perfect little blessings. It means I am a mom, and I am eternally thankful.

Dear Other Mom, I’m Sorry

Dear Other Mom in the grocery store today,

I was upset when I saw that there were no double carts left. I was even more irritated when I saw you pushing one, with your one child who looked far too old/large to be sitting in the little car that is the double seat. Glaring in your direction, I muttered under my breath about people being inconsiderate. What about people like me with twins? Or others with two young children? I grumbled, and I let it bother me most of the time I spent shopping.

In retrospect, though, I wonder if I was the one being inconsiderate.

I don’t know you. I don’t know your child. I don’t know your story.

Perhaps, as I originally assumed, your child can be a brat and you indulge his every wish.

Or maybe not.

For all I know, that boy that appeared to be much too big to sit in that cart needed that cart today for some reason or another.
Maybe he has special needs and you were simply trying to avoid a meltdown by letting him use the cart he wanted.
Maybe he is physically different in some way and cannot walk well, or even at all, and therefore he must ride in a cart, so why not that one?
Maybe you’ve had an exhausting day, week, or month and telling him he couldn’t ride in that cart was just not a battle worth fighting this morning.

No matter the case, the point is I don’t know. I don’t know your story, your situation, your life.

I’m truly sorry for judging you. I’m sorry that it took me all day to think the things I should have the instant I saw you and your son. I hope you didn’t see me glare your way; I’m ashamed of my lack of kindness.

Next time, I’ll do better.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
– attributed to Plato, Socrates, or Ian Maclaren, depending on the source

Life as HoneyMrsMommyCoach + Family Photos!

My blog title is quite an apt description of my life. Hence the reason I haven’t blogged in quite some time. 

With school in full swing + Doug’s work schedule getting busier by the day, life around here is crazy!

The boys are teething TERRIBLY and it is taking FOREVER (or so it seems!) for them to come in! They’ve been drooling and gnawing on things for months now, but in the last two weeks it has gotten really bad. They’re up frequently and for long periods of time throughout the night, obviously exhausted but in pain. They’ve had frequent, horrid diapers so runny that we’ve had lots of leaks and I feel as though the hours I spent with them are spent mostly cleaning their little butts and wherever they’ve managed to spread the mess. I JUST WANT THE TOOTH/TEETH TO BREAK THROUGH! 

They’ve been getting up so much at night that I’ve had to go back to making Doug help me out. Last night, for example, we each had to get up twice. When I do those nights on my own, I get literally almost zero sleep. At least the past couple of nights I’ve gotten 4 – 5 hours, although broken into small chunks.

So, life right now:

Up at 6 after little sleep, get ready while Doug plays with the boys.
Take them to daycare and head to work. 
Teach my sometimes-awesome-sometimes-ridiculously frustrating-8th graders all day. 
MWF-coach practice until almost 6. Sometimes I take the boys with me. Usually, though, Doug picks them up those evenings.
T-TR- pick up the boys and come home. 
Bedtime for them is between 6:30-7:30, usually, so I barely get to see them sometimes. (Good thing they’re getting up so much at night! lol)
When they’re in bed I eat, try to clean up a bit around here, take care of Origami Owl stuff, grade papers, create lessons, and crash!

I love each and every thing I do, but life can truly be exhausting. 

 

On another note, we had family photos taken by my aunt when she came to visit. I just LOVE them! Here are a few of my favorites.

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