It’s been a crazy few months at Casa de Blaustein. I feel like I barely get a moment to breathe let alone sit down and write a blog. How do I sum it all up to bring you all up to speed? Well, here I go…

We have been to the doctor’s office at least once a week for the past 5 weeks. I have been on antibiotics twice in the last month and every kid, except Harper, has too. We haven’t been well enough to even get a flu shot, so perhaps we’ll just skip it this year.

We have a new au pair who is just lovely, a perfect match for our family, and we couldn’t be happier. Having a new au pair has taken a lot of my time, getting her up to speed, helping her get to know our family, Petaluma, our routines, etc. But I am so grateful to have her and I feel like I can finally get to work.

My children are amazing and growing by leaps and bounds. A few weeks ago, Georgia and Olivia had an Open Mic Night at their school and it was a challenge for them to get up on stage and sing. Little Rocky came with us and she surprised us all when she went up on stage with her big sisters, grabbed the mic, and sang “Mr. Moon” (a K/1 classic) in front of everyone. She may be but little, but she is fierce.

Harper, 21 months, has begun potty-training herself, taking off her diaper at any moment she can with devastating results to our carpets. A few days ago, I sat on the floor of my closet (my hiding place) talking with a friend, when from behind the door I heard Olivia shouting, “Mommy! Mommy! Come quick, Harper took off her diaper and there is poop everywhere!” I was so grateful that I was on the phone with a friend when it happened because it gave me a moment to have a good laugh with her and take a moment to breathe before I suited up to deal with the incident. Since then, we have been practicing using the Baby Bjorn potty and Harper is trying to use it.

Thanksgiving is upon us and after last year’s crazy ordeal we’ve found ourselves without a plan to spend the holiday with family. At first I was bummed to hear that our family members had made other plans, but then I remembered how hard last year was for us with the kids and now I am welcoming the opportunity to have Thanksgiving our way and perhaps create a new tradition for our little big family.

In addition, and probably to make things more complicated for us, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide (not to happen again for another 70,000 years, Phew!) so that is going to make for quite a feast.  When I asked Rocky what she wanted for Hanukkah (I meant what kind of present) in her little voice, she replied with “Latkes. I love them”.  Done and done.

There has been a lot of bad news going on in my sphere: friends with cancer, friends with parents with cancer, friends losing loved ones, friends whose children have cancer, and a little girl at our school recovering from a terrible car accident. Life has felt pretty heavy in these last few weeks but I am savoring the bittersweet moments like over hearing my kids praying to God at night to heal their schoolmate from her injuries (a prayer second only to asking God to prevent them from having nightmares).

But there is good in the world still too; I talked to my mom last night and she told me that the manager at a Peet’s coffee she was at comped her a pound of coffee, a latte, and some peppermint bark, because their registers were down and they couldn’t ring her up. She told me that no one had ever done that for her before. I felt sad that no one, in her almost 70 years of life, had done something so nice for her. It made me remember with immense gratitude the random act of kindness Brent and I were privy to when we were traveling with the kids just over two years ago.

We were on our way home from a challenging holiday at my mom’s house and we stopped into a restaurant to get a bite to eat before we hit the road again. We had Olivia, Georgia, and Raquel, who was just a baby. As we entered the restaurant we were seated by an older couple and I immediately asked the waitress if we could sit somewhere else because I hadn’t wanted to disturb them (my kids were impossible to eat out with back then). When it was time to pay our bill the waitress told us that our bill had been taken care of by the older couple. They told her that they remembered being in our shoes and trying to eat out with a young family.  They wanted to give us a message of encouragement to enjoy even the challenging moments because one day they will pass too.

I have been busy, I have felt overwhelmed, there has been bad news, lots of illness, but there have been good moments too. I am grateful for the sweet memory of those folks who’s act of kindness still makes me feel hopeful. I’m grateful for my family and the organized chaos that is life with four young kids. ‘Tis the season to feel grateful and I’m grateful for this moment to stop and publicly reflect on how it’s all been going, acknowledge my tough moments, and return to feeling thankful for perspective, and the knowledge that we’re doing A-Okay.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

XOXO-Ronnie