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Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas 2016

This Christmas was a little bittersweet for me....we did all the regular holiday "stuff", but I knew the whole time this was probably the last year of having all three of my babies really believe in it all.  Hayden has already been asking shady questions about Chimmy (the elf) since last year so this has been coming for sure.  The other two have their heads in the clouds, and it might be a willful decision. When Chimmy finally showed up from the north pole, you have never seen someone more excited than Livi.  She could hardly contain herself.  I love how every morning she wandered the house looking for him.....and how she writes him notes all the time, and leaves him stuff.  This year she left him a pair of green tinkerbell boots that she thought he might want to wear.  (He did, and they were fabulous).  She leaves so many notes and treats it's like he's a Buddha statue in a nail salon.
 Both the first grades and the third grades put on the cutest little holiday concerts.  We loved watching them sing with their classmates....and this pic of Cale invading his friends' personal space is just beyond.

 Every year we make Christmas cookies, and then everyone asks for one all day, every day for three straight weeks until I don't care anymore.  It's way too much sugar but whatever.  I can't do all the things.

I love how excited they still get about getting the Christmas boxes down from the attic.  Everyone wants to help decorate our Christmas trees, but typically the girls help for a little while and then move on after an hour or so.  The last few years it ends up just being me and Cale finishing the tree by ourselves, which is kind of sweet.  I love that he still gets excited and wants to help me.  Daddy helps too, but he's more of a "walk around and drink coffee and sporadically carry heavy things" guy.

The kiddos were very excited that this year we did colored lights outside instead of white ones.  Momma likes white, but they love these so there you have it.
 This year I am the room mom in Livi's first grade class, and after their holiday party I had a bunch of left over ornament making supplies.  These supplies entertained us for a good three days.
(A typical scene from our kitchen table.  Mess, kids...and a kitty cat in the middle of it all with an Aussie under the table.)

 They managed to make it just past sun up on Christmas morning.  I love how excited they get to see their gifts. This year we were lucky to have Uncle Cupcake with us on Christmas morning so that was super fun.

 We always end up gifting them with too much, despite our promises to ourselves every year that we are going to take it easy.  It's easy to give them things because they are always so sweet and grateful.
 One of the special gifts Cale wanted this year was a giant teddy bear like the ones they have in Costco.  He put it on his list, but was a little embarrassed because I guess he thought a nine year old boy shouldn't want one.  Mimi and Popo ordered him one, and he was so excited to get it.

Their big gift this year was a ride on toy.  Hayden got a moped, Livi got a go kart, and Cale got a motorcycle which (to his momma) looks like it goes 400 mph.  A few weeks after Christmas and I can safely say he can absolutely handle this thing, but the day of Christmas I might have stood out on the curb all morning in my pajamas screaming "SLOW DOWN!" While I was on the verge of a breakdown, his Daddy stood next to me and said "Man.  That one is too little.  We should've gotten the big one." For the love.  This is why kids need a daddy.  If it were just me, I'd still have them inside watching Micky Mouse Clubhouse and wearing a onesie.
 I love these sweet times with them, and it doesn't go without notice that these are the best days.  We are smack dab in the middle of them, and I am fully aware.  I know these are the days we will talk about someday.  One day during the holidays we were heading out for lunch and I burst into tears thinking about it.  Shawn had to remind me all the years will be fun, and we have so much to look forward to....and he's right.  I just know this are good days we will miss someday.  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

beach babies

If waiting three years between each blog is wrong, I don't want to be right.  Just kidding...I am in a deep shame spiral about the lack of record keeping I have done for this family.....these poor babies.  They had forty million pictures taken of them from birth to age four and from 4- now, approximately seven.  Life just gets in the way of writing and record keeping and memory keeping.  I guess it's a good thing to be focused on the memory making instead of the memory keeping but still.  I want them to have images of their little lives, but also my words.  So here goes.....for the fourteen hundredth time.
We took the babies to the beach for a quick trip right after Christmas.  The island was empty and foggy and so dreamy.  We did a lot of sitting around, eating, and not a whole lot of anything else.
Mimi bought Hayden a "grown up coloring book"...not like adult content (I'm sure you can actually buy those) but one of those ones with the really intricate flower and paisley designs.  Coloring those tiny designs with markers and then the fancy schmancy Prismacolors Mimi bought them took up most of their down time. We were telling Hayden she had to take care of her new colored pencils because we were pretty sure there were art majors in college who didn't have the big Prismacolor set yet.
 Lots of laying around, playing on the iPads, and just relaxing in general.  Mimi and Popo were there too and we were all equally worthless as far as activity level goes.
 As much as my kids hate posing for pictures, I made them do it because the beach was so super foggy that I knew it would make for amazing images.  You literally couldn't see fifteen feet away from you it was so foggy.  I told Shawn it was like the set of a movie.  Babies were grumpy with pics, but at this point in their lives know that the path of least resistance is to just slap a smile on and cooperate to make momma happy.  The faster they can get the pictures over the faster they can get back to running around doing their own thing. (Photographer kid probs)

 Mimi, Shawn and I decided we would have cocktail hour down by the water and let the littles play and get some energy out.  We were busy enjoying our drinks until Mimi and I noticed that the fog was settling into tiny little water drops all over our bodies.....and we cracked up about having a "fog mustache".

 This little one is one of the main reasons I felt motivated to blog again.  Those top two teeth fell out during her Christmas break, and yesterday she got her ears pierced.  If those two things don't make you feel like your baby is getting ready to pack a trunk and move to college, I don't know what will.

 Despite the water being roughly 16 degrees (or something) these kids can't hardly be kept out of it.
 I love that they are big enough to make me laugh every day with the things they say, but also little enough to still look for treasures wherever we are.  Half a sand dollar is a pretty big deal for a beach that's pretty low on shells.
(Just a side example of the kinds of things they say that make me laugh....the other day Livi and I were talking about diversity and how it's cool that we all look differently, talk differently....and she offered these sage words of wisdom. "Momma, you know everyone is the same?  No matter what color your skin is, or your eyes matter what.  We are all the same on the inside.  Even Donald Trump probably.  And he's orange.")

I love having the kids off school for holiday, and not just because I love sleep so much I could cry.  Also because I kinda like hanging out with them every day.  When they went back last week it was  sad.  They're my little friends now.  I love their little words and ideas and stories and watching the way their little minds work on a day to day basis.  If I wasn't 143% sure I'd snap and have a mental breakdown, I might actually consider "online learning" (Livi saw a commercial on TV once and wondered why they couldn't just stay home and do that)
I'm glad we decided to go down for a few days during their makes me happy to be down there when no one else is and the town is totally asleep.  It makes me feel like it's our little secret, but mainly we like not having to wait at restaurants, because: priorities. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School

Last week marked the twins first week in first grade, and the first week at their new school.  I can tell you all the "nice" facts about the start of this new year....We love their new teacher, who Hayden claims is "cute".  (She is)  We know lots of kiddos in our class, which is amazing since we didn't even know that many families coming to our new school.  Both kids had zero fear at starting school, and are transitioning well into their new classrooms.  Blah, blah, blah.  That's all well and good, but the most informative part about this first week has been the stories I get to hear when they get in the car at the end of the day.  I love their interpretation of the lunch room: "Momma, it's so loud and crazy in there, you only get four minutes to eat and then you have to waste your apple." Hayden has already reported that Cale "held hands" with a little girl, to which he promptly and violently screamed "I DID NOT EVEN DO THAT." Apparently there is a trouble maker in their room, and I get to hear all sorts of hilarity on their interpretations of this situation.  I've gotten to hear such gems as "Momma, he's a real farty kid".  (Gets right to the point, huh?)  For some reason, Livi has decided to call the offender "Banana Bread" so when they climb in the car at the end of the day, she yells "What did Banana Bread do today?"  Some of the stories are downright funny, but the more Banana Bread stories I heard as the week went on, the more empathy I had for the kid.  Maybe the behavior is less about choosing to make waves, and more about something we know nothing about.  It has really set the tone for our discussions this week...about how their Daddy and I want them to try hard and respect their teacher, but also to be a blessing to other kids.  We talked at length about befriending the little ones that stood alone on the playground, or looked like they had no one to sit with at lunch.....but what about that one kiddo who is having such a hard time following new rules and procedures?  How does loving him look?  He's someone's baby too....By the end of the week, both kiddos were talking about how they were going to try to be a good example to him and help him do his best.  Hayden cracked me up when she said, "Momma, I'm just going to show him how to act.  I'm probably going to change his whole life."  (Next lesson on the agenda: humility)
Things are rolling right along here, and I was really proud of myself for having all manner of healthy snacks and fruit cut up and ready for amazing breakfasts and snacks and lunches and more snacks, and more snacks, because there's so much eating going on around here it would curl your hair.  The first few days I got up twenty minutes before them and had my coffee brewing and lunches made and a smile (ish) on my face when they came into the kitchen.  By the time day four rolled around, I was begging them to do the hot lunch line and to "just have cereal" for breakfast.  I know I'm not talent-less, but early morning Martha Stewart-ing isn't my thing.  It doesn't matter that I have to this morning routine roughly 200 something times this year, I'm pretty sure I'll be horrible at it every day.  I'm much peppier in the afternoon, so hopefully that's the part they'll remember.  I'm just not even trying to keep up a charade of enjoying waking up this early.
And now the real work starts.....encouraging the homework doing, and the book reading, and the learning of the organizational skills.  For me, the every day gym going, and office hours more willy nilly schedule for us.  Believe you me, we were ready for it (reference previous post)
Mostly, I am proud of their fearlessness, and how adaptable they are.  They're so willing to just DO things, and I hope it's always like this.  (At least when it comes to the good stuff) I just love that they are brave, and sweet, and kind, and confident enough to think they're going to go change some kids' life.....I'm inclined to think they're just awesome enough to do it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

(Almost) back to school....

Let's just start this by saying it's a good thing we're keeping Livi at preschool this year instead of going on to kindergarten because girlfriend cannot stay clothed.  She knows all her letters and sounds, and numbers, and all manner of educational trivia, but her tiny buns literally spend half the day in the fresh air.  I'm pretty sure having pants on is a requisite for public kindergarten (I'm confident there is some Montessorri school where pants are optional...I maybe should have done my research) so for now it's a good thing she'll be at our church where they luckily love her enough to laugh at her penchant for nudity.  (Please let this be the year she stops this particular habit)
I don't know about my littles, but I'm somewhere between elation and panic at school starting again.  Elation because YAY, we love each other but there has been enough togetherness to sink a ship around here, and we're ready for some separation, structure, and bathing once a day.  
Panic because GETTING UP EARLY.  Seriously, I am not even going to tell you how late I have slept on occasion during this summer break.  You would throw your shoe at the computer screen, especially if you have a child under two who won't sleep.  Let's just say this: my kids wake up, eat a breakfast bar, and entertain themselves.  I am left to wake up whenever I want, which is really the worst because it's just going to be sad when that alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. in two weeks.  SIX THIRTY.  Ugh.

Elation because I am so excited for the twins to start at Cambridge in first grade.  First grade was a year I loved to teach, and I am so ready to see them do their thing.  They are lovers of books (thank you, Jesus) and I hope that always sticks. 
Panic because I hate packing school lunches. Mostly because there is nothing that sets my hair on edge like unpacking a lunchbox and finding a hot apple with one bite out of it.  ONE BITE.  How many times we have to have the "if you aren't going to eat your apple, don't bite it at all" conversation is beyond me.  
Elation because I need a routine.  I am a little too loosey goosey in the summer, so before I transition fully into a feckless fraternity boy who needs a haircut, I gotta get back into the real world.  
Panic because I still have two things on their school supply list I need to track down before the first day.  I know, I know, I really dropped the ball by not buying the pre-packaged school supplies from the PTO.  I'd like to say I had a reason for not ordering the pack by the deadline, but if we're being honest, it was probably because I was sleeping in and lumbering around with my coffee watching HGTV until noon on the deadline day.  I thought it would be kind of fun....who doesn't love school supply shopping?  Crayons that smell amazing? Brand new everything?  Let me tell you when school supply shopping took a really nasty turn...when EVERY  SINGLE  ITEM  on their list had a specific BRAND listed next to it.  I mean, I taught kindergarten, so I know that Crayola crayons are VASTLY better quality than the ones that come with the coloring menu at a Mexican restaurant, but spiral notebooks?  Unless the papermaking technology has changed in the nine years since I have taught school, I am pretty confident in saying that a spiral notebook is a spiral notebook.  I'm fairly sure of it.  I tried to play by their rules and get the correct brand name for every item, but after shopping HEB, Target, Wal Mart AND Office Max and still not finding the right items, and then loading an Amazon shopping cart only to notice that the shipping was $43 dollars for six items, I gave up.  Sorry, first grade teachers.  Please do not hate my children because they are erasing with the Pink Pearl eraser and not the Staples brand, organic, latex free pink eraser.  It's their momma that is the lawless rule breaker, not them. 
Any who.... we're conflicted about school starting, but we're ready.  In the words of Sis "I hope there are nice girls in my class, and not girls like that one in my Pre K class who told everyone they had hairy arms."  Word up, sister.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's try this again.....

We're all a year older.....what can I say?  I can't believe it's been a year since I've written anything, but I hope to change that.  I am sad to look back and see all these memories I used to document on this blog, and how now it's nothing but cyber crickets.  
I wish I had a good reason for not blogging, but I don't.  I guess Instagram is so quick and easy, and I've sort of let that take the helm on family memory keeping.  Sad, I know.  Pictures are amazing, but I love to look back and read what I was thinking in the very first few years of this family building journey.  
Since my (not so) littles are 5 and 7 now, I guess we're on the move more.....let's be honest, there's a part of me that misses the days we were more homebound and they took two naps a day.  Now our days are filled with playdates, camps, swimming, and a bunch of other activities that generally run us all ragged.  
I'm slowly starting to wrap my head around having "children" rather than babies, and realizing these three are probably going to be it.  Don't get me wrong, they're pretty amazing.  It just takes some mental adjusting to realize you are indeed, shutting down the baby making factory.  
I'm all about adjusting to having "children" because frankly, fixating on missing the baby phase pulls my focus away from enjoying my kids as they are, and SO funny.  Ya'll, they are pretty cool people, and that's all on them.  I fed them and diapered their little baby butts, but now they are becoming their own little hilarious, unique selves.  More than once a day, one of them makes me belly laugh, out loud.  For real.  
It's an honor to get to watch these tiny humans become people from the ground up.  I can just now see glimpses of the kind of adults they're going to be, and I can tell you, I'm totally going to want to hang out with them.  They're going to rock.  
So in the interest of documenting the building of these amazing people, and the daily goings on of this crazy life, I'm going to make myself blog.  Even if the only reader is my dad.  (Hi Daddy!)
Here we go (hopefully) again.....

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Summer in Pictures: 2013

We have one trip left lined up for the summer, but looking at my calendar, I'm reminded that this magical time is quickly ending.  We've had a long, fun summer and I'm sad to see it go.  Gone are the days of sleeping in, laying around lazily, getting in the pool three times a day, and doing whatever we want.  We've filled these days with zoo trips, beach trips, snow cones, floating the river, late nights, fireworks, s'mores, time with friends, and playing outside.  I know there won't be many summers in our future that are this relaxed, and this much "ours".  My big babies start kindergarten in two weeks, and I know the summers in our future will include commitments and camps, sleepovers and trips away from mommy.....sigh.  I know I can't hold it off for too long....but I'm going to fight to keep them mine, to keep them little for as long as possible.