Wednesday, December 01, 2010

For Fin at FIVE?!?

My Dearest Fin,

How is it possible that you are turning FIVE today?!? Just yesterday you were this little bundle of toothless smiles...

Going down the slide for the first time and learning to walk and talk...
Playing with Mom, back when it was just you and me all the time!
Growing up but still always smiling :)
And meeting your new little brother for the first time.
Forever my beach baby...
And the best big brother a mother could hope for...
And of course the best model a momtog could ask for :)
Although I don't think there is a way to take a bad picture of you!
And then there were three!
This will always be one of my favorite pictures of you. Biggest boy.
My four favorite people on the planet.
My builder of battles, lover of Super Heroes and ready to embrace the force...
Making sure Dash was ready for his first day of school...
Not hard to see who Kell is taking after!
Really, could life get any sweeter!
It has been an amazing five years my little man! I'm so proud of your intelligence, your wit and your kindness. I can't wait to see where your life takes you ~ I'm so very blessed to be your mother!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Tidings

Homemade stockings hung by the chimney with care...
Tree with new skirt made with the same fabrics as the stocking cuffs...
My angel tree topper :)
Stocking closeups
Kell wanted to remove and rehang this bell. All. Day. Long.
Some of my favorite ornaments...
A camera my mother gave Brooks the year we got engaged, garland and nutcracker, Fin's first school-made ornament, antique candle ornaments, and a fish/tackle box (mine 1996)

This year I put the small tree that usually goes in the boys room downstairs and made it the photo ornament tree. I am trying to add a new one each year per child and a family shot.
And a closeup of my mantle angels made by my Uncle Bud :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Dear Realtors,

Dear Southern California Realtors,

Please read the MLS notes before planning a showing at my home.

You will see that they clearly note that you MUST speak with the homeowner before showing. They also stipulate that you allow two hours notice as I have three small children. Perhaps that "three small children" needs to be in bold so that you will realize that 9pm showings are NOT appropriate. Also, it'll be very dark then. And I think that's a creepy time to want to see any house.

Please do not "drop by." I don't appreciate walking in and knowing someone has been in my home without my knowledge. I especially don't appreciate it when you don't even bother to leave a card so that I have to call my Realtor to see if anyone has accessed the box. I'm easy to reach, I am always either home or available on my cell. Both numbers are conveniently in the listing notes for your use. Don't give up after just one either. Go ahead, try them both. You'll get me. Promise.

If you call and make an appointment to see my home, please come at the time you have selected. I didn't choose that time, YOU DID. Say you would like to see my home between 1 and 3? Well, I will tell you that's naptime for the wee ones but I can make it work. DO NOT SHOW UP AT 4. And if you make an appointment, please don't just not show up. You know, like the asshole who told us they had a client who REALLY wanted to see our home and knew it was an inconvenience with kids, but could ONLY come at dinnertime on Halloween night? Yeah, I guess it was ok that we had to go out and I couldn't make the dinner I'd planned on. But then you didn't show up?!?! Yeah, you SUCK.

I'm glad that it hasn't happened since, but that time you let your clients come in and set our chinchillas free? That totally sucked.

And a last final shout out to the Realtor who called today at 4:25 to say she would be showing my home between 4 and 5. IN YOUR TIME MACHINE?!?! Why not just say 4:30? I was out of the house for an hour. You must have just missed me. Funny that there was no message on my cell phone (quitter). Sorry my house was a mess, but again, that's why you CALL ME FIRST. As I was listening to your message, I realized it was 5:15. So I called you back to see if you were still coming. It took you TEN MINUTES to confer with someone?!? in your car and verify that you did in fact come to my home already. Thanks for that card you left. JACKASS!

Listen, I know being a Realtor is hard. I know people run you around and the market sucks blah blah blah. But really, if my Realtor can do her job AND be a good person, so can you.


Monday, October 25, 2010

I Heart Faces * Pink Week

The weekly challenge at I Heart Faces is Pink Week for Breast Cancer Awareness. What speaks to breast cancer more than a little girl we can only hope will grow into a world with a cure. I just loved this photo so I put a pinkie wash on it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

I'm a big believer in the Eleanor Roosevelt school of thought: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I'm sure there have been people who have treated me poorly but for certain there are none who have made my life hell.

But I would like to thank this prompt for making me feel fortunate!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.

There are two answers that come naturally to this question.

The first is my husband. A long time ago someone told me to marry the man who wanted to join my life and not make my life. And I wasn't really sure what that meant until I met Brooks. He lets me be who and what I am and still loves me. He encourages the good in me and sticks around to laugh at the bad. He has without question made my life worth living.

But then there are my kids.

Before children I never worried about death. I always just saw it as a natural progression and felt lucky to have been able to live the life I have and really believed that every day is a gift. And then I had kids. And now? Now I fear death. The thought of leaving them before I am ready and before I feel like I have done my job with them makes me quake in my boots. It just might be my biggest fear.

So I suppose that I'd have to say that my answer is my family :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

This is sort of a dumb question. And makes me think that this whole 30 days deal was started by some bored high school kid who wanted note passing inspiration. But I've started, so I'll finish.

I don't ever want to have to sit in a hospital at the side of a loved one. I'm not an idiot, I'm sure I'll lose plenty of people through my life. I just hope they all die very old and at home in their beds. And preferably in their sleep. So there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.

When I first read this question, a big part of me wanted to respond that I've already done it! I wanted to be in a loving marriage, check. Own a home, check. Have children and stay home with them, check, check, check. Truly, all of the things that were super important to me, I've got.

But those things beget other things too. Now I want to see my children grow up and become kind, successful, loving men. I want to see them get married to kind and loving women. I want to see them have children of their own. I think that a large part of having children is watching your dreams for yourself become your dreams for you children. All my hopes are for them now.

Selfishly, I guess I'd like to travel more. I came up with a bucket list a while ago but most of it I'd honestly be fine also not doing. In my most lazy admission, I'd like for Brooks to retire and have some good years of just spending time with him. Sheesh, guess I'm just boring!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

I'm a pretty forgiving person.

Don't get me wrong, I NEVER forget. But I do forgive because I don't think you can move on without forgiving.

I'd like to say that there's truly nothing I have held on to, but that would be a lie. There is also NO WAY that I could even begin to be cryptic enough to blog about that forgiveness. So I'll be honest and admit that I am holding a grudge right now. And the grudgee probably knows who I am talking about.

So I'll just leave it at that and say that I'm working on it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Another tough one. For me. And I'm faced with a decision here to either lie, or be honest and completely over-share. I'm going to try and be honest, but just a little cryptic. So sorry if this feels awfully vague.

A long time ago, in the life of a girl far away (heh) I had a very good friend. A bestie. And this friend and I, we went through some crap together. A BIG crap, if you will. And so there we were, standing in this crap up to our eyeballs and suffocating. So I ran. I crawled out of that pile-o-crap as fast as my arms and legs could dig. And then I ran. I ran for my life. And I did. not. look. back. Not even once. Not until I felt like I was as crap-free as I could cleanse myself. And then I took a deep breath, and I looked back. And this friend, this very good friend who would have done anything for me, this friend who would have helped me in a heartbeat was staring at me, undoubtedly wondering why I wasn't coming right back to help. But I was afraid of all that crap. I was afraid of what might happen if I went back. What if I couldn't dig my friend out? What if I got stuck again myself? What if I could never get out?

So I did not go back.

I turned around and walked away. Away from the crap. Away from my friend.

At the time it felt like the only thing I could do, the only decision I was capable of making. It felt like survival. But looking back? Looking back it feels like cowardice. It feels like abandonment. It feels like I was a terrible friend. And I can't even tell you how often I think of what I could have changed if I had made a different decision. How would my friends life have been different. And how might it have changed mine.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

Ok, well, this is tougher. Why do we have such a hard time praising ourselves for what we do well? Or being positive about who we are?

Anyway, I think the thing that I appreciate most about myself is that I'm honest. Probably to a fault. I don't think anyone would ever call me nice, definitely not sweet, possibly funny or generous, but most definitely honest. I think it's not only something that comes naturally to me, but a trait I've spent some time cultivating. Selfishly, because it's easier. I don't like to be untruthful. I'm not a bad liar, but most certainly an uncomfortable one. And at this point in my life, I have no desire to expend the energy necessary to perpetuate any lie. Although I do wish that I had slightly better control over my facial expressions at times.

Honesty is also something I demand from my close friends. Know me long enough and you'll know not to ask my opinion unless you really want it. But also that when I ask yours, I expect nothing less than total honesty back (even if it is to say that my last haircut really made my hair look half fake). I'm sure there is a way to be both delicate and honest, but I don't know it and I'm not going to try and find it either.

So yes, I love that no one could ever call me a liar. A bull in a china shop? Maybe. But definitely not a liar.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself

This is tough.

There are plenty of things about myself that bug me. But I think the one that bothers me the most is that I have a stupid fear of being alone or being left out. And when I say stupid, I mean ridiculous. Like I can't let Brooks leave the room without telling me exactly where he's going, why he's going there and when he'll be back. And if he is gone too long? I'll start to panic a little. Why? I don't really believe that he'd just take off and not come back. So why panic? Sheesh.

It also tends to rear it's ugly little head in my friendships. I tend to get a little jealous if friends get together without me. I know, totally dumb. And I don't mean that I don't want my friends to have other friends. That doesn't bother me at all. I like to have different sets of buddies myself. Variety and all that. But if my friends all get together without me, I start to wig a little. And I'm a grown-ass woman so I know how crazy that sounds. And it's not like I'd say anything or complain about it, because I don't. I just stew quietly a little. I really really hate feeling left out. It's so bad that I'll go on outings even when I'm tired/sick/or just don't want to because I don't want to sit home and feel left out.

So there's mine. Probably the thing I hate most about myself. What's yours?

Friday, October 15, 2010

30 Days of Truth

Blogging is a great way for me to get out some of my thoughts and I love being able to go back and see what was going on in times past. But one of my most favorite things about the blogging community is the inspiration you can find! A whole slew of bloggers are doing a 30 day challenge - 30 days of truth. I might take more than 30 days, but I'm going to try it! Here is how the days fall out in case you'd like to play along...

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Colorblind or Creative

If you have small children, you watch a good amount of Nick Jr. (for those without, it's all kids shows with no commercials). In between shows they sometimes have art activities or other fun stuff for the kids. The "parent" on today's segment was an African American man. The "participants" were an African American boy and a little white girl. As we were watching it, I wondered if Finley would associate skin color with parentage. So I asked him, do you think they're brother and sister? Do you think that's their dad?

His first response? Laughed at me. Oh it gets better. Then he tells me that that man adopted them because the parents who gave birth to them were too young to keep them and so they gave them to that man. This was said in total seriousness. I asked him why he thought that and he said "Mom, I know!"

I might have to start watching Teen Mom after he goes to bed...

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Dash at THREE!

My Dearest Dashel,

I can't believe you are THREE!! Where did the time go?! I know that Kell is really the baby of the family but in many ways you fill that role better. Fin and Kell are chatty and the first to make their wants and needs known. They are the most independent. You are my sensitive child. You are the first to ask to snuggle with me every morning, to sit on my lap at any opportunity and to ask if I love you (just in case I haven't already told you so that hour). And of course I do. I love you so very very much.

You started preschool this year. Your teachers are Miss Sherrie and Miss Char in the Blue room. You and Finley both go in the afternoons - you on Tuesday and Thursday and Fin goes alone on Wednesday. Wednesdays are hard because you love school SO much and can't understand why you can't go then too! You're learning by leaps and bounds and your teachers had nothing but wonderful things to say about you when I met with them this week. I was able to volunteer in your class for your Birthday treat day - it was so wonderful to see you having such a good time and getting along with everyone. I'm so glad that you're happy :)

At home you're working hard on mastering your colors. I think you just aren't so motivated and I can't blame you since you have two constant playmates. You and Fin fight just like any close brothers would but most of the time you're nothing but sweet to Kell. And when it's just the two of you, you can play for hours with no intervention from me. Boy is THAT nice! Our days are super busy with school and playdates - we are so very lucky to have so many friends here. They have really become our family over the past few years and I largely have you boys to thank for that.

This year for your birthday, Daddy took the day and we went to Six Flags - you love it there! You and Fin ride everything that isn't bound by height - you boys are fearless! Kell was able to enjoy a few rides this time too and I know in a blink he'll be running right beside you and Fin! We're celebrating this weekend with all of your friends. The Sorensen's are hosting a joint party for you and Briar (who will turn two this weekend) and it will be a fall extravaganza in their backyard. I know you'll have a blast.

That's all for now since everyone is waking from their naps and I have to get Fin to soccer. I can't wait till it's your turn on the field.

All My Love,

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Mothers Work

An online friend of mine recently authored an eye-opening blog post about what it's like to be a mom who works outside the home. I guess it was especially interesting to me since I live on the other side of that white picket fence. In case you didn't know, I'm a proud Stay at Home Mom or (SAHM). It's such a hot button issue, I can't believe I've never written about it before.

In her post, she spoke about the fantasizing that goes on in either camp - what life would be like if you were to hop over that fence and feel that green grass growing under your own toes. And so I wonder. Especially on the bad days here when I'm at my breaking point and I just want to walk outside and scream at the top of my lungs. I wonder how that other half lives. I wonder if I would be happier over there, or if I'd just find myself wishing for the other life. I'm not delusional, I know that it's a challenge to miss those milestone moments in your childs' lives. I know it's heartbreaking when your children ask you not to leave them. And I know it must claw at your soul to watch another woman mother your children.

But in an office, you are a person. You have a job with an end, a product, a result. Something you can stand behind in the end and say "I did this". In an office, you sit and do your job, eat your lunch or get out for lunch, go to the bathroom by yourself and on a good day you might even hear that you did a good job. Sure you can make the same argument for children I guess, but that's really more of an end-of-life recognition where your boss says you did well. But in an office, you have an autonomy that you simply do not have at home. And that I do think that every working mother understands. Probably even appreciates.

There are other things too, like no one says to the working mother "Oh I know you stay home with the kids, so will you head XYZ Committee?" And yes, of course you can say no, but there is a tremendous amount of competition that goes on between SAHM. Everyone wants to be the room mother (or at least, everyone wants to SAY they are the room mother). Everyone wants to volunteer in their child's class. And yes, conferences and events at school can be tricky for the working mother who must arrange for time off. But when you have more than one child, they are still tricky as I must think of child-care. If the working mother had to beg off one of these events, she would find herself excused for her job. A SAHM? I'm sure there is a soap opera and bon bon joke in there somewhere...

And speaking of competition, the SAHM carries the full burden of child-rearing. No one expects the mother who works outside the home to be teaching her children their shapes, colors, letters, numbers, how to read...But the SAHM? We're responsible. If the child isn't potty trained by their second birthday? Judged. If their child can't name all of their colors at the same time as their peers? Judged. And if they fail to send their child to Kindergarten ready to read? Judged. What about your child's health? The SAHM mother best be sure that her children get plenty of exercise and also develop the most healthy of eating habits. Those habits are for life peoples!

She also touched on something that has been in the front of my mind lately too. As we look for a larger house to give our family a little more room, I am often reminded that we could have more income in a few years when I am able to return to work. Being a stay at home mother means working as hard as you can (often harder than you imagined was possible) for a few years in an effort to make your position obsolete. That is the end goal right? To raise kind, intelligent people who will be able to live without your constant care and attention. It kind of makes me have a new respect for models and athletes - having a job with that short of a shelf life blows.

So yes, when Kell goes to school in a few years I will be able to return to work. But I didn't really have time (ok, or motivation) to get any kind of career off of the ground before I had children. But what if I had? Even if I had finished some professional degree that offered me a field to return to, I'd still face a staggering lag in salary. Economists have said that giving up a career to be a SAHM can cost upwards of 1 million dollars over a lifetime. Ouch!

Would I change my decision to stay home with my kids? No. Not a chance. These days are few and precious. I know plenty of women who would be miserable with my day-to-day. Women who thrive in an office and would find this clean, dress, cook, clean, shlep life stifling and isolating. And certainly I don't think this SAHM gig is for everyone and I'm beyond supportive of my peers who shatter that glass ceiling and go into an office to make the world (or at least their home) a better place every day. But that just wouldn't be me. I've always been more sweats than pantyhose anyway ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life On The Sun

It's way too hot here in the Southland. WAY TOO HOT. My car said 118 yesterday. That's damn near 20 degrees over 100. I know, I'm a math whiz. But seriously, say it that way and it will drive home the point of how incredibly hot that is. I know, but it's a dry heat, right? Seriously, at 118 does it matter?! I kept the kids in undies most of the day and thought of just declaring it a nekked day, but I think Brooks would have had a heart attack. I feel like we're just living on the surface of the sun this week!

The boys are doing great in school. Fin has a new girlfriend, Sienna, who is adorable. He's been working more on his penmanship with me at home and is working hard at sounding out words and beginning to read in bits. Soccer is in full swing and he's really enjoying it this year (which makes one of us). Dash loves school too and is always disappointed to find that only Fin goes on Wednesdays. We're working hard on learning his shapes and colors. This week we're going to start on his letters too I hope. Kell is finally standing on his own and I expect him to start walking any minute now. His two bottom teeth have sprouted through and I know there are more on the way. He's starting to repeat tons of words and I feel like he's going to follow Fin in the lots-of-talking-less-walking pattern.

As for house news? There is none. We still own ours and our list of five we loved vanished in a three day period. So now we wait. We don't have a house we'd love to move into so we're just in a holding pattern. Brooks and I vacillate daily on what we want to do next - some days we just want to pull this house off the market and start making some of the improvements we'd like and other days we just feel like sardines in a can bursting at the seams! We've decided we'll take a long look at the situation this weekend.

That's about all I have for you today! Thrilling I know. I promise I'll find something more interesting to write when my brain isn't consumed with house stuff, and birthdays, and Halloween...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Haircuts and Mistakes

A few weeks ago I had the urge to get a fancy haircut. My head hadn't seen scissors in about five years, so I felt it was time. And with the house on the market and the possibility of a higher payment in a new home looming, I decided it was a good time to treat myself to a good one.

That was my first mistake.

So I went to a recommended salon and was able to get right in. Score! I told the chopping chick that I just wanted a trim. What about some long layers? WHY DO I FALL FOR THIS EVERY TIME??!? I HATE LAYERS?!? They would look so nice, it would make it lighter...blah blah blah...Ok.

That was my second mistake.

When your hair is down to your hiney, in WHOSE UNIVERSE IS CHIN LENGTH A LONG LAYER?!? THAT, my friends, is a VERY SHORT layer! And some mutant pieces are even shorter than that?! I thought I was going to cry. A first visit to Honest Monika confirmed my worst fears: I looked like I had short hair with long tracks clipped into the underside. For shame.

I spent the next three weeks trying to curl the underside more so it looked at least closer to even. Mostly I failed. And then my parents came to visit. Even my dad started to make fun of me. And when my mom was ragging on me in front of our Realtor and the REALTOR commented on how she thought it was fake hair this whole time?!? I knew something had to be done. But the weekend flew and I had no time to get to Supercuts.

(Sidenote: Supercuts will be getting all of my business from now on because you tell those bitches to cut a straight line and miraculously that's what they do! HOLLA!)

So this morning in the shower I considered shaving my head. But I didn't. I got out, opened my drawer and grabbed the first pair of scissors I could find.

(Another sidenote: curved cuticle scissors are NOT recommended for cutting hair.)

And I cut it. I cut my own hair. I cut damn near a foot off of my own hair. With curved cuticle scissors. Over the sink. Then I called my long-hair-loving husband in and asked him if the back was even. Then I watched him alternate between sadness and rage and finally agree to take a look at the back.

I'm hoping he'll get over it. Any hints for getting hair to grow faster?

Friday, September 03, 2010

House News...

Otherwise known as, what's been keeping me busy AND more stressed out than ever:

Our house is on the market.

We found a larger home that we can all happily fit into just up the road a bit. But of course we have to sell this one before we buy that one.

So this means keeping this house immaculate, staging (meaning half the stuff I need I can't find, half the kids toys are in the garage etc.) and of course running out with little notice when someone wants to see the place. And we've had over 20 showings so far (a little over two weeks) and not a buyer yet. I'm so flippin' tired of vacuuming that I could hurl.

(And speaking of hurling, the stomach flu is going around. I can't think of anything more challenging than current conditions. Oh unless you add a stomach bug. And did I mention that my parents will be here next weekend?)

When I whined to my mother about the insanity of all this, her response was "Do you think you're the only woman who had to sell her house with three small children and a hardworking husband?" Probably not, but I'd sure like to talk to that other chick! St. Joseph is buried and we're still getting calls for showings so cross your fingers for us! I hope to have a longer post - and some good news! - soon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To Kell at ONE!

My Dearest Baby,

I was just sitting in bed, breathing you in while we snuggled for a nap and I realized I hadn't written you a birthday note yet!

We celebrated you with very little fanfare this year. Daddy's parents, Turbo and Gran, and Uncle Russ were in town for a visit and we snuck away to Coronado for a few days. We didn't do much, as vacationers are want to do, but on your birthday we took the family to Sea World. I thought it would be pretty lost on you but you LOVED it! We sat and watched the Shamu Believe show and you yelled and clapped for the whales the whole time. I can't wait to take you back when you're a little bit older.

When I think about how we spend our days, I feel a little guilty because they're so much busier than my baby days with your brothers. I feel like we're always running errands, or going on play dates. Now that you're a little bigger, you're really starting to feel part of it all. The big kids are forever yelling at me to come get you as you try to destroy whatever masterpiece they're building, steal their toy, their water, their food. I know you just don't realize that you're not so big yet. I always try to get home to snuggle you for a nap - I so relish that time with you! Mealtimes might be your favorite of all - I've never seen a kid eat like you do! You're a bottomless pit! You like just about anything but meat and veggies are your favorite. You adore chicken and squash. I swear I don't know where you put it!

When Daddy comes home, you get SUPER excited! You crawl as fast as your chubby little legs can carry you screaming "DADADAAAA". If he doesn't pick you up immediately, you continue to scream while scaling his legs. Truly I've never seen a baby boy so in love with his Daddy! Once we've said our hellos, we take our tubs. You love getting in and playing with your big brothers. It makes us so happy to see all three of you playing nicely together. After we put your big brothers to bed, you have some one-on-one time with Daddy. He loves snuggling with you and that's pretty much how you fall asleep every night. You're still not sleeping all through the night (good thing you're cute!) and when you wake up around 5ish, Daddy just brings you in here with us and you go right back to sleep between us until your brothers come in and hop in to wake us all up.

You're not a walker yet. Crawling up a storm and cruising, but not yet ready to take the steps on your own. You also have no teeth?!? Very odd but the Dr. said not to worry till you're two so we have a ways to go - and it doesn't stop you from eating everything so I guess it's all good! You're also a talking fool. Daddy laughs at me when I talk about how I thought I'd get at least one quiet child. Not you! You say "Mama", "Dada", "Daddy", "Uh-oh", "Hi", and "Bye" as well as "Thank You" which cracks us up because you say it so well (and appropriately!) sometimes we have to look to see which child said it! You're also pretty good at repeating things when we say them to you. You also have terrific comprehension and can follow Mommy's directions well - when you want to! I know you understand almost everything I tell you :)

That's your life right now my little one! I'm trying to remember daily that you're only little for the smallest of time and you're growing up too fast!

I love you more than you know! (At least until you have children of your own someday :)


Sunday, August 08, 2010

My Favorite Things: Nursery

Talk of moving has picked up around here and it reminded me how much I wanted to document this house so my children would always remember what their home was like when they were little. So I've covered my favorite things about the kitchen and the family room. But I think my most favorite room in the house is the nursery. I adore this room...
I wanted a fun nursery that could work for a boy or a girl (turns out I didn't need to consider the latter!) and I didn't want it to have any cartoon or animal theme. We settled on happy shades of yellow with dark woods. The bedding is a celestial theme, adding in some blues. Brooks and I framed in the windows and striped the walls ourselves when I was pregnant with Fin...
The Wooly Mammoth who keeps watch on the babies was a gift from Brooks when we decided to start a family. We saw it in a boutique toy store and I was smitten. I couldn't imagine him getting loved on by any children other than those I might have. So even though there were none yet on the way, Brooks bought it. The quilt underneath was made by my Aunt Jan for my mother when I was born...
We wanted to do something fun with the walls and since studies show that babies love to see the faces of other babies we thought it would be fun to go with all baby pictures of family members. I bought these plain wood frames and craft supplies at Michaels and we designed, painted and decorated them. I hand colored and printed baby pictures of our siblings, parents and grands and hung them with coordinating ribbons...
Bottom: Dash, Top: Fin
Top: My Dad, Middle: Me, Bottom: My Mom
Top: Brooks' Mom and her twin sister, Middle: Brooks' Dad, Bottom: Brooks (and he made that frame)
Left: My Brother Brandon, Middle: Brooks' Brother Russ, Right: My Brother Chase
Top: My Maternal Grandmother, Middle: My Paternal Grandmother, Right: My Paternal Grandfather

We put an awful lot of love into decorating this room. Hard to believe that when we started I didn't even know what I was having! I can remember having a conversation with Brooks about how many children we thought might spend their nights in this room. I'm pretty sure neither of us thought the answer would be three little boys! And while I find the prospect of more space and a fresh start to be very appealing, I'd be a liar if I said that leaving this room wasn't going to make me cry like a baby!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

An AWOL Update

So BlogHer sends me a "where the hell are you" email when I don't post for two weeks. I'm exaggerating, it's actually a very nice reminder that I've gone AWOL along with an understanding note that all bloggers need a break. Indeed I do need a break. But not so much from the blogging.

I love this family of mine, but weh have we been busy lately (and now I've given away that I did indulge in devouring a book over the past few days - bet you can guess which one). So here's the current view from the home-front!

Business (and now I think of that episode of Fin and Jake Adventure Time whenever I hear that word..."I remember busssiinneeesss") is booming for Dad. He's had some long days lately but as I constantly remind myself, he's not traveling anymore so it's all good. Fin is working his way through the stack of workbooks that have taken up residence on our kitchen table. I swear I never thought a kid would get THAT excited over mazes and cutting pages! But he's smart as a whip, that one. Dash has *finally* mastered the art of potty usage. Thank Jebus. But seriously, I'm beyond proud and at the same time completely floored that he just decided he was done with diapers and justlikethat started wearing undies. We've had a few accidents but none major and all more upsetting to the trainee than the mommy so that's a win. And although I was uber nervous about it, I gave in to his insistence that he wear undies to sleep out the gate and he has just done beautifully. Potty use, counting, learning his letters, and yet Dash STILL cannot grasp the colors. He knows blue and pink and purple but green, red, orange, and yellow are always wrong. I even gave him a child test for colorblindness which he passed with flying colors. I'm trying not to worry about it, one thing at a time. Kell is a movin and a shakin all over the place. It took the third, but I have finally broken down and had to use a baby gate as it seems like his largest goal in life is to careen head-first down the stairs. He's pulling up on anything he can get his hands on too but still not a steady stander yet. He babbles all day, loudly, and yet still has no teeth?!? The Dr. told me that they don't worry about that till the kiddos hit two. I hope it doesn't come to that. We're also working on the weaning - the main hurdle being that he HATES milk. I left him unattended with Monika for few minutes today and she was all too eager to show him the beauty of chocolate milk. So I guess the good news is that I can get him to drink the stuff, it just has to be chocolate. Stinker.

I'm still trying to get my butt in running shape. Registration for the half-marathon opened this past week (I know, right, it's in November! Why are you stressing me out already?!?). I haven't officially signed up yet. I need to be able to run 4 miles easily and get my long runs over 6 to feel like I could really do it. It just seems soooo far...But I don't think I could forgive myself if I don't do it, so I guess I should just buck-up and sign up already. I've also been trying to get the fam out and about more this summer - to the beach, the pool, the zoo, the grove - and so far so good. Not to be gushy, but I really am so blessed to have that husband who rolls over and just asks what I want to do each day. Well, each weekend day. And that's after grumbling about whichever kid refused to go to bed/got up to use the bathroom/lost a pacifier etc. It's not all sunshine around here people!

I promise a more interesting entry soon. Like how I would have smacked that Farrah on Teen Mom if she were my daughter too (I mean seriously, what an ungrateful little ho!) Or perhaps an open discourse on whether or not my plan of finding someone to pose as the mythical Miss Crabapple (the evil, child-hating, wooden paddle-wielding babysitter) to frighten the snot out of my kids could cause possible therapy demanding damage. I say no. Discuss...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Face Your Pockets

This week, my Photojojo newsletter sent me to this site: Face Your Pockets. The basic idea is that you take everything out of your pockets/purse, toss them on the scanner and then smash your face in and scan. How can you not want to try it yourself! Brooks and I had to play. We sent our entries in, but here they are :)

And of course we had to scan Kell's hiney since he was the only one awake:
What's in your pockets?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Big Backyard Makeover

We have lived in our house 8 years this October. When we first moved in, the backyard was ok and we even did some planting. Then we adopted a dog. And she was NOT good for the yard. And then over the years, sprinklers failed, grass died and the yard just wasn't a priority. We have redone EVERY room in the house. Some rooms, like the nursery and the office, we have even redone twice. But the yard continued to be neglected. We had beautiful plantation shutters installed all over the first floor, but have never left them open. I mean really, would you want to look out at this?
Or this?
In all fairness, those pictures were taken after the landscapers treated the yard to make sure all the weeds were dead. Before that it was somewhat green. I even thought some of it was grass. Um, yeah, it turns out that none of it was grass. Whoops! Needless to say, we'd had enough. So we earmarked our tax refund this year to get it taken care of. I know you're probably thinking, "Hey, it's a small yard, why not do it yourself?" Well, the short answer is because we don't have time or desire. The longer answer involves a total overhaul of all the sprinklers, regrading and most importantly having a clue of what grows in what areas. So we hired a reputable company. And then we got sticker shock and thought about putting it off. Again. But let me tell you, we have ZERO buyers remorse!
I love these plants. No idea what they're called, but truly I dig them! I had half a mind to ask for them, but back to my earlier point, I have no idea what will grow where...
Happy hibiscus...
We have a few of these pretty two-tone rose trees. Who even knew that two colors would grow on one tree?? Not me...
little purple flowers...
little red flowers...
more purple...
some pink...
larger view...
new long planter...
And a play area for the kids! I'm SO glad I went with this! It's all gravel so that they can play in the water table with no fear of mud. And the house rests nicely on it and I don't have to worry about it killing any grass.And all done! We moved the table over and bought a new conversation set. It's so comfortable!
It feels like a little piece of vacation. Feel free to stop by for a cold one! :)