Monday, December 9, 2013

Lawn fawn 2

Here's the second card I created today. Not quite what I envisioned, but close.

Welcome baby - I used the Critters Down Under set for everything and Mr. Sketch fine markers to color it in. The washi tape is from Freckled Fawn and the mat for the sentiment is a scrap. I embossed both eggs with gold embossing powder and used a Zig Embossing marker to fill them in. One of the eggs us popped up on a pop dot.

Lawn Fawn 1

I had a few minutes this afternoon and put together couple of cards I had in my head. The first turned out pretty much like I planned. The second did not.

Sending hugs - I used the Critters Down Under set and the sending hugs sentient (not sure of the set, it was an extra I was sent). I colored it all with Mr. Sketch fine markers. The koala is popped up with some pop dots.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Perspective 2

It hasn't been the most amazing day, but that sentiment really comes from the last few hours of the afternoon/evening. H did amazing at school and then came home and decided listening and doing homework didn't make the best use of his talents. The twins were running around and making tons of noise which didn't make homework easier. W was hungry - the easiest problem to solve. Husband was going to run...except he didn't leave right away and he didn't wrangle other kids while I tried to help with homework. Then I spilled water all over the table and homework and mail because G wouldn't listen. Lots of frustration. Things did calm down a little and we had dinner and homework was finished and Husband ran and children bathed and W went to bed and the boys and I played Sorry for 15 minutes before they went to bed. Everyone went to bed well, except G.

As G turned to go to bed I noticed a lump on his neck. it is huge! I freaked. Visions of cancer and my poor little baby who is only days from being four jumped into my head. I took pictures and sent them to my mom and sister.

We went to urgent care and found out it isn't the serious I imagined. His lymph node is infected and we started antibiotics. Big sigh of relief.

Part of my freaking out had to do with it having been a busy day. I don't know how long he's looked like this. I like to think I'd have noticed, but who knows. I was frustrated and yelling and really just hadn't paid him enough attention today. All my boys fall, trip, smack, jump, etc. into things and eachother and I had no clue if this was something I'd missed earlier when he had come to me for some reason or another. I felt responsible if it were something terrible because I should have known or noticed. I realize this is not the most rational thinking. That happens when children take over, rationality goes straight out the window.

Onto perspective: my attitude today, especially this afternoon, really affected how I reacted tonight, and especially how I felt about and critiqued myself. I am so thankful that it is only an infection. I am so thankful for the health of my children!

Friday, November 29, 2013


I've started this post a few times.

I am full of brilliant (in my head) ideas. Some of them work, some of them don't, and some of them are never realized (for various reasons). One such idea was to take a picture of Husband and myself in our wedding clothes for our 10 year anniversary. My dress has hung in my old closet at my parent's house since my wedding day. I've thought about having it preserved but our apartments were small and our house isn't much bigger. I was content to leave it there and they didn't mind.

This past Wednesday I went to pick it up and it was gone. My parents didn't get rid of it, and the reason it's missing isn't important. Wednesday my mom and I found several things missing from their house. It was frustrating. We were angry - then I found myself repeating in my head, it's just stuff. Some it might have been my stuff I was saving, but it's just stuff. Some of it can be replaced and some of it can't, but it's just stuff. It's all about perspective. I can't say I'm not upset or angry (though the anger is subsiding). I can't claim to be in a state of "zen" about the whole situation. I can be thankful for what I did find and thankful for the memories.

I did find my quilt that my grandma made me. I did find a couple of photo albums from my childhood that were trashed but the pictures were fine. I found a few things from my childhood and for that I am grateful. When we drove back to my grandma's, my mom commented about how there are some people who lose everything due to fire or flood. Discussing things with Husband the same sentiment came up. Yes, our situation is different, but we are blessed to have what we do left. It's all about perspective. At this moment, I'm going to try and keep my perspective open and focused on what really matters. I'm going to try and focus on the positive and fight the negative that wants to stay angry. I'm going to happy to have the memories and know that, even without the physical reminders, I know I am loved and have been loved.

And, because I still believe my idea is brilliant, maybe I'll find a new dress to get those pictures taken in.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Three days ago I turned 32. It was a great day that wasn't overly focused on me. I had a great day hanging out with my boys, Husband, and my sister-friend. The twins and W played in the wet and mud left over from the rain and I ran around barefooted taking pictures and enjoying watching them play. I sat with the twins as they drank warm apple cider from my tea cups (something they love that makes them feel grown up). We cuddled and watched TV. We had pizza for dinner. They went to bed and my sister-friend and I chatted and hung out. Husband got home and we went for an ice cream run. So low key, but absolutely wonderful as I spent the day with my favorite people. Then the next day my sister-friend and I went and saw 12th Night performed at the local university. It was fun (though maybe I should pick a play that needs less focus the next time I decide to jump back into the world of adults).

So, here I am at 32. I thought I'd do a thankful for 32 things post.
1. Husband
2. H
3. G
4. J
5. W
6. Family that isn't by blood
7. Family that is
8. Our house - it's small, old, and needs lots of repair but it is a shelter and I like it
9. Being able to stay at home with my boys
10. Piles of laundry - maybe not having to wash them but the blessing of having them
11. Food - even when it feels like there's nothing to eat I know we still have so much
12. Our backyard - it's big and perfect for four active boys

H, G, J, and W
13. My parents
14. Great in-laws
15. My grandmas - they are amazing and I love the memories I have with them
16. My grandpas - they aren't alive anymore but things happen almost daily that make me think of them
17. Traditions - both new and old
18. Our church - community, teaching, and the list goes on
19. Creative outlets - I only wish I had more time to do them
20. Letting go - minimizing and remembering things aren't the most important
21. Hearing the twins carry on conversations
22. H helping without being asked
23. The dual immersion program and school where we send H (and eventually all our kids)

24. Disposable diapers (you can laugh - W eats solids and I'm glad I can throw that mess away)
25. My bike - I haven't ridden it lately but I like riding it and it's so pretty
26. Fireworks - I like them and I love the feeling of wonder and awe that they evoke that goes way back to childhood

27. The dishwasher - I don't mind washing dishes but boy does it make life easier
28. Our SUV - I didn't want to be a van mom
29. Cuddles from my boys
30. Projects with/for my boys - they aren't always (usually) cheaper but somehow the boys and I always like them more
31. Phone conversations with my big sister
32. Kisses and hugs from my boys

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Blog Your Heart

I feel like I'm standing on the edge and what I do next will determine how so many things go in so many areas of life right now.

I'm so close to my goal of pre-H weight (6+ years in the making here). I have further to go than that but what a huge milestone. I need to be better about snacking and exercising (major downfall). Of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas are here which doesn't help but I'm trying to not get caught up in baking and sweets constantly. I really want and crave the sweets right now though, especially chocolate.

I'm trying to focus more on the positive with the boys. Sometimes it's not easy. They're good boys and I need to encourage that more through positive praise.

W is SO big. I can't believe he's 14 months. He is also super clingy, more so than my others. It seems impossible but it's true and sometimes I don't know what to do beyond let him fuss and follow me around. I hate it but I can't get anything done if I don't.

The twins are going to be 4 in less the two weeks. They have grown so much from those little six-pound babies we brought home. I LOVE seeing them develop and the differences in their personalities. So much fun!

H is craving attention and I need to be better about giving him some focused time beyond homework. I am glad he is benefiting from the after school program but I'm still torn on him being in it. He just doesn't get enough play time. It is the hardest part of our schedule (although it does make pick up so much easier).

I'm happier and I think that's the effort to be content. I also think it's me being more focused on the positive. Either way I like it. I'm liking me at this moment - not perfect but more happy/motivated/etc.

**I'm linking up with Stephanie Howell for Blog Your Heart.**

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


November is a full month for our is December. Really, it all starts in August and then continues to build until it is two months so full of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Still, these two months are two of my favorite months of the year.

There has been so much focus on thankfulness during November, and that is good, but my real focus lately has been contentment. I can't say I'm always content. I have four boys. I'm content in that. I have four rowdy, messy, clingy, wonderful boys - a few of those traits (and some others not mentioned) certainly leave me less content sometimes. We have a house. There are times when I'm more aware of how small it is, and it gets cluttered easily, and I'm not always (usually) great at keeping it clean, and those sometimes chip away at my willingness to be content, but I'm working on it.

This past year was especially difficult. There were some big schedule changes with H starting first grade, and then joining the after school program. There have been several (the first day of school included) days where H has brought home reports of less than exemplary behavior (don't take this to mean I think he should be perfect, I'm well aware he's a 6-year-old boy). We are struggling with the same issues at home...times three because if H is doing it you better believe G and J are going to follow suit. W is the sweetest cuddler, and he wants to do that always. Forget cleaning or eating or cuddling other children, he has turned into a rather opinionated and stubborn toddler who doesn't like to share his mama. More things to work on, more things that make life a little more difficult. Lots of whining and needing help. Lots of toys to pick up and dishes to do. Lots and lots of repetitive things that make it feel as if NOTHING is ever getting done.

I can honestly say there were several months where I was just worn. Kids are hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard. Keeping house is hard. Not getting enough sleep is hard. I didn't have a very content attitude...or even a good attitude.

This past week Husband and I went on a little anniversary getaway to celebrate 10 years. A few weeks before this getaway I had gone to my parents for a quick weekend trip with all the boys but without him. When I got home he asked me this question, "Do I make you happy?" What kind of question is that? In my mind it causes panic, what have I done, what do I need to do, etc. The answer was, of course, yes (don't get me wrong, he drives me crazy sometimes, but he makes me happy regardless). It was a eye opener. My attitude has been so wrong lately that he didn't see me smile much, and I wasn't acting happy. On our little getaway he asked me question #2, "Do you like what you do?" Do I like being a stay at home mom? He wasn't asking to be unkind, and I'm so glad he asked. We had some good talking that getaway while we drove the various places he had planned. He was sweet enough to say he'd never say I have a bad attitude...I would. I love being a stay at home mom. I love getting to be with my boys, but it isn't easy. There are so many times where I don't get enough sleep (both because of me or my children), so many times where everything doesn't work out like I want or it feels like a never ending cycle of dishes, laundry, and homework. But when I really think about each day, when I really look at what I'm doing, when I really take the time to see how my children are behaving, I know so much of it boils down to my attitude. Add to these questions some things that have been discussed in MOPS, and some extra time just for me and Husband because of preschool one day a week and a date night one night a week, and then some times where Husband has given me a break just for me and the sky is looking a little bluer because I'm paying attention. A few nights ago I failed, I was sick (litereally) and tired and just needed to sleep. Husband didn't criticize, and he accepted my appology when I gave it, and he even listened when I told him how wonderful our children had been (though they were struggling with bed time routine when he got home). He helped get them to bed and then I took some medicine and went to sleep myself.

Now my goal is to tell him how wonderful the kids have done throughout the day - to brag on what awesome little boys they are. So, I'm learning and striving towards contentment. Thankfulness is awesome, and I do my best to help my boys be thankful and realize how blessed we are, but for me I'm going to take this month (and next month and so on) to focus more on contentment. Maybe I'll get it more right sooner rather than later. It doesn't matter as long as I am doing better more often than not.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Early mornings

It's currently 5:30 am and I'm sitting in our dark living room holding a sleeping baby. He woke at 4:00 and drank his bottle and would not go back to sleep. At 4:30 I put him in bed thinking he'd fuss a few minutes and be out (and thinking I was done sleeping in the recliner most mornings). He did stop fussing after a few minutes but then it was several off and cry out, several off and cry out. I went in, patted and soothed, and left again...probably making things worse for myself. I decided to take a shower because between bursts of crying and the child who had crawled into bed with my husband and left me not the amount of space I like to have I knew I wouldn't get much sleep. So, I was showered and dressed before 5:00. I can honestly say it was my first year of teaching the last time that happened. I had planned on using this time to be productive and clean before everyone woke up and it was time to get ready for school, etc. Instead I'm enjoying the cuddles that come with holding a sleeping baby that's growing too quickly.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


H can be many things - funny, stubborn, defiant, sweet - and a lot of the time he's great at driving me crazy, but he has a sensitive side. It's his sensitive side that has me struggling a lot lately. This is the part of him that brings out the mama bear in me, the side that wants to shelter him and keep him little so I can protect him. 

Earlier this week he didn't want me to leave him at school; more specifically, he didn't want me to leave him alone. Those were his exact words, "I don't want you to leave me alone." Talk about heart break. I was just looking at him, struggling to find the right words, not sure how to handle the situation when one of his classmates bounced up behind him. I told him to look behind him. They were so excited to see each other and just like that he wasn't alone and it was okay for me to leave because he ran off with her through the front gate. 

This afternoon, when I was picking him up from school, I asked him who he played with at recess. It's a question he gets asked every day, and more days than I'd like to count he tells me, "no one." The thing is, he has friends. This boy can make anyone smile. He is silly and will do almost anything to get a laugh. But, he also has a one track mind sometimes. Today he said he didn't play with anyone but he explained he was looking for one of his friends (a third grader - my first grader has three third grade friends that I know of) and couldn't find her. I can certainly picture him in my minds eye wandering around the playground looking for one person in particular, ignoring everyone around him or turning them down when they ask to play. Then, when he's asked about it, he's sad because no one played with him. Husband and I have talked about this. If you've seen Meet the Robinsons, there's a flashback scene with the villain where he says everyone hated him (elementary school) and they show him walking down the hallway and everyone being kind to him and asking if he wanted to play, etc. This is what we imagine H looks like on days when he gives us this answer. But what do I do? How do I help him? Struggle, struggle, struggle. 

I want so badly to go to school with him, to see him succeed, to make sure he's doing his best and playing with friends and being happy. I want to be in control and I'm not. I know I'm going to have more mornings where he doesn't want me to leave him. I know there will be more days when he doesn't play with anyone at recess. I know that he's going to have failure and heart break and disappointment; and I want to shield and protect him from it all and I can't. I'm going to continue to struggle with how to help him. I'm going to continue to struggle for the right words. I'm going to continue to struggle but I hope he knows he is loved. I hope he knows that he has a mama who wants to do it all and doesn't because that wouldn't be the best for him. While struggling is uncomfortable, and sometimes my heart does break for him, I hope that through these struggles I can become a better mom to H.

Project Run and Play - Candy Inspired

I finally decided to join in and sew along with Project Run and Play. I had grand plans, and still do, but with a few sickies, 1 year shots, and H's school it is a busy week I only completed one of five shirts I planned on doing.

When I saw the theme was candy inspired, and I viewed all of the designers amazing outfits, I googled candy to see if I could get any ideas. Amidst all of the pictures, I saw some conversation hearts. I can't say their my favorite candy, but it did give me an idea...well, several. My first thought was to make shirts for my boys in the colors of conversation hearts (green, orange, and yellow - Husband probably wouldn't go for pink or purple) with conversation heart sayings painted in red on the front. I decided to use the Peek-a-boo pattern for the play date v-neck tee with short sleeves because the v-neck mimics the dip in the hearts. Of course, JoAnns didn't have the colors I wanted so we are now going with green, blue, and white (x2). Then, while perusing the designs for week one, I thought it would be fun to make a girly shirt (to give away of course) that mimicked the conversation heart box. I happened to have everything I needed to do that, so that was completed first.

For this shirt I used the Oliver + S Popover Sundress, a pink shirt, two red shirt sleeves, and some premade pink bias tape I had on hand. I also used the pink shirt to make a heart pocket and then painted the pocket to resemble the heart on the front of the box.

The inspiration
And now, the results:
The Sweetheart Shirt
pocket detail
Overall, I like it. I like the pocket but it seems to heavy for the shirt. I'm hoping it will loosen up after a wash or two. I'm also hoping the recipient of the shirt likes it. Probably my favorite aspect is how she'll be able to wear it regardless of season because it will still look cute over a short or long-sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pinterest fail

 I've seen this wonderful idea on Pinterest a lot lately. You use cake batter in a waffle maker and it's a great way to have cake quickly. I tried it. Things didn't go so well. It could have been the type of cake I made (it's a very runny batter, but an amazingly moist cake). Or, it could have been I didn't let it cook long enough (I know, what's 4-5 minutes) but I was afraid it would burn and you should have smelled it. It smelled amazing. I made one, failed, and didn't bother to try again. The boys enjoyed eating it (I used a fork to scrape it out and then we smooshed the cake into balls for them to eat).

Now, this is where the fail continued. I have some microwavable muffin "tins." They hold three muffins/cupcakes each. I bought them to hold water for painting. I decided to make microwave cupcakes. Didn't turn out too hot. They cooked, but they all merged together and blah, blah, blah. It was bad. I scraped them out into a bowl and decided to bake the rest in the oven. From there I figured I'd make cake balls. After talking to my mom I decided to make a trifle. The cake won't be cut into pretty little cubes, but who cares when chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, cherry pie filling, and whip cream are involved. I'm very excited about tomorrow's dessert option!

***Edited to add: the trifle was amazing! Chocolate pudding, crumbled cake, fresh sliced strawberries, whip cream, and repeat. No, I didn't take a picture, and yes I used some very fattening ingredients, but it is divine. The twins kept calling it ice cream and Husband was quite surprised (both by the amount I made and the taste). 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sugar cookies with frosting

Yesterday we made cookies for my sister-friend. I knew it would be a long day at work for her, the weather was perfect for baking, and I wanted to. It also gave me a great reason to go for a walk with my boys (something I always enjoy/hate all at the same time).

I decided to make some sugar cookies using a recipe I got (and tweaked) in college. It is my go to sugar recipe. I would have done chocolate chip cookies, but we only have chocolate/mint chips and cinnamon chips. Not a big deal but both have reasons for being in the freezer and not being used. Anyway, I also decided to make some grenadine frosting. I bought some to make a Shirley Temple cake. That was an interesting cake (very sweet) but we don't buy soda and I wanted to find a way to use what I have in the pantry. This might not have been the quickest way to use it up but it was an intersting idea so I ran with it. There are a few different recipes on the internet for grenadine frosting. I went with the simplest and halved it because I knew we wouldn't need that much, also I was planning on using some sweetened lime syrup (by the same company) to make the other half with. Overall I was happy with how it all turned out. Sister-friend's co-workers said it was yummy and H loves the grenadine frosting. I may be the only fan of the is an acquired taste and a little goes a long way because it is quite sweet.

Here are the recipes I used.

Easy sugar cookies
- Adapted from a recipe from back in 2002

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually blend the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden (I found 10 minutes was perfect for the wheat flour). Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes to cool before moving to wire racks (they will look a little under cooked in the cracks and need some time to set up before being removed or they'll fall apart).

Grenadine Frosting

1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. powedered sugar
1-2 tbsp. grenadine (start with 1 and add more to taste)

Mix together the butter and sugar with a fork. Add in the grenadine and stir until combined.

I used this same recipe but changed the grenadine for the sweetened lime concentrate to make the lime flavor.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Sometimes when I look at my children sleeping all I want to do is hold them. They are so sweet and innocent. W especially makes me want to hold him. He is so small and yet so big. He's grown so much. Life moves too quickly. Holding them (any one of them) while they sleep feels like I'm pausing time for just a little while.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Letting go

I thought letting go on the first day of kindergarten was hard, and it was. Tonight somehow feels more difficult. H is away at a slumber party. He's stayed at a friends house before and I was okay with it. I've left town and had him stay with grandparents. I've been in the hospital giving birth and had him staying with aunts and uncles. Still, tonight feels more difficult.

He was leery of leaving. He's been more clingy lately with both Husband and me. He wasn't sure and that makes it harder for me to be sure he'll be fine. That little boy can infuriate me one second and melt my heart the next. Right now my heart is nervous and scared. I'm afraid he's feeling nervous and scared. I'm afraid he misses me and I can't be there like he needs. He's growing up and I'm having a hard time letting go. 

He was so excited about this party last week. Then he found out I wouldn't be going and that was only okay because he could bring a cuddly toy. This morning he didn't want to go camping without his daddy, and he didn't like tents (not true). As he left he seemed excited. He had a friend and there were two sleeping bags in the trunk (along with two pillows, backpacks, and presents). He was ready to go. I have no idea if he kept that demeanor, but I hope he did. 

Don't get me wrong, I trust the people he is with. I know he likes the children he'll be hanging out with. I'm just a mom having a hard time letting her first baby boy go and grow up a little. It's been nice having a break. The twins were in bed early (no naps today) and W was easy. We had some nice us time and he went down at his normal time. I've been able to relax. It's been great. Still, when the twins come and get me (which has happened a couple of times) I'm aware of the empty bed in their room. Growing up is hard, and as a parent I think it might even be a little harder to watch. 

I never realized how much I loved being in control of everything until now - this past year. He's been exposed to so much and experienced so much that I can't control. I'd love to control everyone else's children and make sure they're all nice and he never gets hurt and he excels in all areas of school and never looses recess and the list goes on. I can't. Letting go...

Cute picture minus the dirty foot
Cracks me up. The picture was taken
at the perfect moment.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I don't feel as though I have too much to say, but I do want to "write."

Life has been so interesting lately. W is learning to crawl. He's mastered movement so quickly. Two Saturday's ago he got on his knees and started rocking, a few days later he started pushing forward with his toes while laying down, a few days after that he started army crawling, the next day he truly started trying to move his knees forward (and then he moves them back), and then over the next two days (which brings us to now) he usually gets one knee moved forward and placed before falling back on his belly. I'm amazed. He's pretty fast with the army crawl too, especially if a cell phone is the bait on the floor.

The last few weeks at school have been difficult for H behaviorly. The same can be said of his behavior at home. H is struggling with listening. He's five. He's a very active little boy. He's smart; sometimes that gets him into more trouble. He's cute and he's learning that that won't get him out of trouble. We're working on manners, on not yelling or speaking unkindly, on being polite and respectful, on how to act in the million situations that arise every day. He struggles with asking to touch something before actually touching it. He loves to wrestle and do demolition work with his daddy. He has such a sweet side that is sometimes so over shadowed by his 5-year-old, aggressive, active, self-centered self. And then tonight, when we are talking about whining and how blessed we are and how there are children who are not as blessed he says, "Can we bring them to our house? Why can't we help them all?" My eyes teared up. He's learning. I know I fail him daily in showing him patience, some days I feel like he's always in trouble, but he's learning and if I pay attention I can see all throughout the day how he's trying to bless the lives of those around him, how he's trying to be kind and loving, how he's yelling because he's upset with his brother but he's using kind words like please or excuse me, how he's so sensitive and wants to be everybody's friend. He shows me the type of person I need to be (not whiny or aggressive, but concerned for others :) ).

The twins have been clingy. They did really well after W was born, and the honeymoon period has been over for a while. They're ready to have as much of my attention as possible. They want to cuddle and love on me constantly. They want to be held and to sit on my lap or next to me all the time. Now when I say I have to feed W I will sometimes hear a no instead of an ok. They are both more opinionated than they used to be. J is more loud about his defiance. G likes to try and fly under the radar, thinking if he doesn't answer or he quietly does something else no one will notice. I see them playing more but also fighting more. They're learning to be individuals. They are extremely focused on the color of things because blue means it "belongs" to G and green means it "belongs" to J. They even see things in orange, red, yellow, pink, purple, etc. and decided that those colors mean it "belongs" to other specific people. I had no clue that one day my children would be color coded, even when we found out we were having twins that wasn't a thought in my brain. Here I am 3.5 years later and so much of our lives is separated by color - dishes, clothes, toys. Some of it is done by me and some by them. We were at a friend's house and G found two tape measures, a green one and a blue one. He took the green one to J and kept the blue one to play with himself.

My boys are growing. W is 7 months old, the twins are 3.5-years-old, H is 5-years-old. It is hard to believe.

We met with some friends yesterday that we haven't seen for about two years. Their daughter is four. She's changed a lot in those two years and at the same time she's stayed the same. It was weird to see her as she is when I picture her as she was. I was talking to my friend and she commented on how big the boys were. She stated that it doesn't surprise her that her daughter has grown, but not seeing our kids it was easy to forget that other kids grow too. It's true. Those big changes are so startling. The problem with the little changes is that they are so small we adjust easily or don't even notice and then when we look back the change is so obvious and shocking. H is graduating from Kindergarten this year. Time has flown. It doesn't seem possible that this first little boy who made me a mommy, who was a scrawny little thing to begin with, who crawled around 9 months and walked around 11 months, who used to blow raspberries on my arm to make me laugh when he could see I was frustrated is old enough to be in school and is so close to finishing his first school year. I'm trying to cherish it as I work on surviving it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A smile captured

I don't think I've ever captured my boys smiling in their sleep. I know I've seen it, cherished it. Last night I caught it on "film." The picture melts my heart. It makes me smile. It isn't a perfectly executed photo, but I love it all the same. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily struggles

I am a very blessed mother of four boys. Three of those boys are silly, rambunctious, loving boys. Someday soon I am sure the fourth will join them. He already knows how to make a raucous and get attention. I often try to remind myself about how truly blessed I am. My boys are healthy. They have the ability to attend school free of charge. H is even in a bilingual program without our having to pay for it. I've been to other countries and seen children playing with sticks in filth. I've seen them so excited to be given a used plastic water bottle. My house is small for our family of six, but we fit just fine. We have food and clean water. They have more toys than they need. We aren't separated from one another. I am able to stay home with them instead of having to work. These are the things I want myself to focus on when I'm struggling and frustrated. These are the things I want myself to think about when someone dumps a cup of water on the bed when they should be sleeping, or when I have to try and wrangle three rowdy boys in a restaurant, or when I am so very tired and all they want is for me to play with them or cuddle with them. Some nights, like tonight, I fail. I feel terrible (thank you allergies and sinuses) and I didn't get much sleep last night. I didn't cuddle and speak calmly to them. I failed with a great big F--. It happens. Thankfully it is happening less often than it used to. Tomorrow I will try again. I don't want them to remember the daily struggles we had with one another (fighting over a toy, Mama always being frustrated, yelling, spanking). I know these things will be in their memory, but I don't want them to stand out. I want them to remember always that we read a story, sing a song, and pray before bed. I want them to remember playing in the backyard on the swing set Daddy built. I want them to understand what it means to be kind, generous, honest, respectful, and hard-work; and I want to be the one who demonstrates that for them. I want them to know there is a time to have fun and a time to sit still. I want them to remember sitting around our table for meals regardless of whether or not our whole family could be there - I want them know that is where the family that is present eats and they do it together. I want them to remember love and hugs and cuddles from me, Husband, and each other. I want them to remember that we always made them apologize and give hugs and that this doesn't always fix the problem, but it's a start. There is so much I have to teach them, and there is even more that they teach me. My flaws are so present and obvious in how they act and react to life around them. I want to change me so that I can help them to grow. And to do this, to be a better person and mother, I must remind myself of all the blessing, big and small that I have. I must also point those blessing out to our children. So, here I am saying that I fail on a daily basis, and tonight was a more major fail that usual, but I am still so happy to be their mom. I am still so full of love for those boys who refuse to go to sleep, two of which are currently sleeping on the floor, who wake me up at ridiculous hours (all from the age of 6 months to 5 years) for various reasons, and who love to cuddle me and hang on me and hug me and give me kisses. I know the daily struggles won't go away, and I am sure that I will blog about them again and I know they will change as the boys get older (way to scary to think about now), but at this moment I am going to let go of my frustration and focus on my blessings and get some rest so we can all try to do better tomorrow.

My boys, blessings, and trials:
G - 3 years old
H - 5.5 years old
J - 3 years old
J, W, G, and H
W - 6.5 months old

Sunday, March 17, 2013

LA Marathon 2013

Today was the LA Marathon. Last year Husband decided to run the marathon in January, which gave him about 10 weeks to train. Not the best plan. This year's marathon was much more thought out and he started training in October. He did AMAZING! First, he ran 26.2 miles which already deserves a medal or a cookie or both. In addition to running that insane distance he also beat his time from last year by 34 minutes (and 4 seconds). SO AWESOME! Can you tell I'm proud?

I love being there to see him cross the finish line, but I also love the little mini vacation that has come with this trip for the last two years. Both years my sister-friend has come with me and we get some cool hang out time we don't get now that we're both "grown up" and have "lives." This year she was more about helping out with W, since he tagged along (he is only 6 months), but she also brought her awesome camera which I had a blast using and I definitely couldn't have done everything I did if it was just W and me.

Because Husband took the week off to run the marathon we were able to be a little more leisurely about things. We went to the LA Convention Center to pick up his bib number and look around. While there we tried a few free samples and recorded a few second video of W's adorable smile to pop up during the race to encourage Husband along.

Getting his racing bib

Next we went to Santa Monica and checked into our hotel, the Hotel Carmel. We walked down to Bruno's, an Italian restaurant that was wonderful and totally worth going to and I would go there again if I got the chance because it is that good. It's a sweet mom and pop shop. We met Bruno, the food was amazing, and everyone thought W was adorable. After dinner (and feeling way to full on some carb-o-licious pasta) we walked down the pier and looked around. No rides or anything, but I'm pretty sure none of us really wanted to go on any of the rides. The coolest part of the pier was watching someone catch an octopus. I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't think about it. The octopus was about the size of a small ball (the head could fit in my hand) and his tentacles were moving around. A little weird, a lot awesome - he kept it and I think that was the weirdest part of all. I did not know people "fished" for octopi...maybe they don't, but then why would he keep it.

The ferris wheel
The fishing poles
From there we went back to the hotel and hung out and then went to bed.

Husband was up bright and early, got ready, and headed for the shuttle to take him to the start line. Sister-friend and I slept a little longer (after eating a little bit when Husband left) and then we got up and got ready. We packed up and checked out and headed to breakfast at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (that's where we went last year). We then headed to the finish line to see a friend cross. There was lots of standing around waiting, we saw our friend cross the line and then waited for Husband. He made it, we followed him (sort of - we were on the other side of the fence pacing him) and let him know we would meet him at the end. It was crazy and hectic but we finally found each other. We went back to the hotel, he changed, we got our car from valet, and we headed home.

Santa Monica Blvd. (because we can't go without me hearing
the song in my head)
Converse display
After finishing (in the red in the middle)
Wearing his heat blanket (middle) walking with our friend
It was such a great weekend. Our boys had fun with friends and family, I had a mini vacation for the  most part, and Husband rocked it. I'm glad this is only a once a year thing, and I'm not sad that he has decided to probably not do it again for a while (training is difficult with four little ones), but I am glad he did it. I already knew how awesome and amazing he is, but I love that he has done something to show our boys how important it is to be healthy and how you can do anything you put your mind to (even if it is a wee bit crazy).

Monday, March 11, 2013

6 months

W is 6 months old today. It's hard to believe that at this time 6 months ago I was sitting in a hospital room waiting for Husband to return and having my own little panic attack that I wasn't ready for another c-section (wasn't too worried about the baby at that time, just getting him out). Now, he's here and he is growing so quickly. He is currently 14 lbs. 10 oz. and 26.5 in. long. He loves his food and thinks that if we are eating he should be too. He's had applesauce, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, yellow squash, green beans, green zucchini (not his favorite), beans, and avocados. And now, here is a plethora of fun pictures I took of him today.

He currently loves his toes!
Love that I got this shot.

So focused on what his brothers are doing.

with H
Not much sweeter than seeing his brother (J) try and comfort him.