1 year with 4 boys! Wow oh wow. Jasper was and is such a sweet, easy going babe. Our surprise baby that Clinton swore up and down ‘HAD to be a girl! Because what are the chances of having FOUR boys??’ Well those Horsman genes must be STRONG (Clint comes from a family of 6 boys) because here we are with a full brood of little men. As much as I was hoping to add a little girl to the mix, Jasper has been the perfect addition to our family. And there’s always next time I guess! Lols lols lols. His brothers were (and still are) obsessed with him. Even Rowan couldn’t stop giving him kisses and saying ‘Hi Bapu!’ Which is how his little 19 month old self pronounced ‘Jasper’. Desmond quickly recovered from his initial disappointment when he found out that he had not, in fact, gotten the baby sister he had been so faithfully praying for. And Corban requested daily to hold ‘baby Jasper’ (never just ‘Jasper’ lol).
Transitioning to 4 kids was HARD, especially since Desmond was still a few months shy of 5 at the time. I remember crying as Clinton left for work for the first time after Jasper was born – it just seemed impossible that I would make it through the day on my own with all the kids! But you learn to adapt and manage and grow and etc etc and one day you wake up and realize you’ve made it through, even if you don’t remember how! I think the hardest part of it for me was balancing all the nap schedules in our tiny duplex. I had a boy sleeping in almost every room of the house!
Thinking back, the first half of the year is such a blur. Just quick snippets of memory popping up here and there. Clinton was transitioning back to working for his Dad’s company and there was a lot of travelling and shuffling in the coming months, which was really hard. We knew we would be moving to the interior, but the timing was uncertain because a lot depended on what kind of contract they ended up with. I had been packing up our house since the Fall of 2015 in preparation for the move, but there’s only so much you can do without a firm moving date. Work needed to be done in Salmon Arm in late February, so we headed up here and stayed with Clinton’s parents while he worked for a few weeks. Not exactly the best thing to be doing with a newborn and 3 small children. I remember being exhausted and stressed to the max and feeling like all of my flaws were on display the entire time we were away. Sleep deprivation can really do a number on a new mama’s emotions! It was definitely my darkest post partum experience to date and the most I have ever struggled with post partum depression. Something about the uncertainty of everything, combined with a lack of confidence in my ability to be a good mother to so. many. kids. really took its toll. Once we returned home and had a firm moving date I felt like I could relax a bit. But it was a rough time for sure. Luckily Jasper was such a content baby. He really did bring a light into some dark places for me.
Mother’s Day 2015 was a great day – we brought the moving truck home and started loading up! We were so so ready to go. Clinton had secured us a rental up here, this old house with the drafty windows and gorgeous original hardwood floors. I clapped eyes on it for the first time when we pulled the moving truck up to it on May 11, 2016. Just so happy to finally be here, the place we had been trying to get to for 3 years. Clinton’s family had moved up almost 2 years earlier, while we stayed alone on the island and waited for our turn. My sister in law and her kids – who are all born within a few months of each of mine – was and is my bff and being away from her was one of the hardest things ever. A good mommy friend is hard to find and every mom needs one! Being close to her again has made all the difference and when our oldest boys started school last Fall – together, in the same class – it felt like the culmination of everything I had been praying for over the past few years. Jasper handled every change of scenery with such ease and happily settled into his new room and home. It felt so good to spread out in this big old house, which is easily twice the size of our duplex. I will not stop thanking God for finding this place for us to settle into, until we find our forever home.
After the move came so many great memories. Birthday parties with all the cousins. Beach days. Family BBQs. Visitors coming to stay.Jasper adapted effortlessly to our constantly changing schedule of guests, outings and activities. Poor fourth baby rarely got enough sleep during the day I’m sure. Maybe that’s why he started sleeping through the night so early?? Who knows. All I remember is that I wasn’t complaining about it haha.
Then Clinton started camp work for the summer. We bought a big, beautiful trailer and parked it by the lake outside of Revelstoke, 200km away from home. To say that living with 4 small children in a trailer was difficult would be the understatement of the century. It was rough. By God’s grace alone we made it through 2.5 months of on and off camping (Clinton only worked Monday-Friday). Jasper refused to sleep almost every night and when he did eventually drift off, he would inevitably be awoken by Clinton getting up for work in the wee hours of the morning. Despite this, he was generally in good spirits (though I can’t say the same for myself…) and the other boys enjoyed all the outdoor time.
With September came the start of Desmond’s first year of school, so we had to bid farewell to the trailer life and settle into our new normal of Clinton being gone during the week (he remained in camp until the end of October). Jasper finally started sleeping through the night again (hallelujah!) and being on my own with the kids still felt easier than camping, so I was counting my blessings.
Desmond also started hockey in the Fall, which was almost more exciting for me than it was for him. He practices twice a week and it is definitely a workout! By some miracle, almost half the kids on his team go to our church – so it was easier to get to know them and their parents. He has made so many friends and so have I, which has been amazing. We were on the Island for 7.5 years and I made fewer friends than I have in the 7 months that we have lived here. Another prayer answered. Mama needs to socialize! Jasper loves watching his big brother’s games and is definitely getting in lots of good rink time in preparation for his own hockey debut in 2020 😉
Time seemed to fly by once school/hockey started. It was hard being separated from Clinton 5 days a week, but before I knew it he was home and all was as it should be.October brought more guests, as well as a much anticipated upgrade to our vehicle situation. Jasper came along when we picked it up and his excitement was palpable… ok maybe I was a little more into it than he was. But I could tell he was happy for me, too. November and December were another blur. Jasper’s first Christmas was magical and being close enough to celebrate with family was amazing. My episode of kidney stones on Boxing Day aside, I would give the holidays a 10/10!
As the old saying goes: the days are long, but the years are short. I can’t think of a truer adage, except for this – babies don’t keep. I don’t know how it’s been one whole year already, but we couldn’t have done it without you, Jasper! Happy birthday sweet boy!