Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Weekend May Style-- Part One!

When you work two weekends in a row and your first home weekend happens to fall on a holiday weekend with about million awesome family options... you do as any sane person would do. You try them all.


Our weekend was far the most amazing, action-packed, Halloween extravaganza to be found. By the end of it--- we were pooped and you know, given the chance--- I'd go do it all over again and invite more people to join us.

The next few posts are going to be flying at your picture heavy because while I could attempt, I would in no way succeed in describing with words alone the absolute cuteness that comes with kids in costumes. SO. I won't attempt it.

We started the weekend off with a fall festival at a nearby preschool where about half the neighborhood kids go to. It was so fun to see all our little friends there but also SO crowded. The cool front pushed a normally outdoor festival all indoors last minute. Bounce houses included. I didn't even attempt pictures as I was really trying to just maintain sanity  So for all holiday hoopla purposes- our fall festivities started on Saturday morning with a trip out to Sweet Berry Farms. We visit this farm throughout the various seasons and regardless of the time of year, it never disappoints. Such a fun place to play!

Gosh, we just really had so much fun there. While I think that there is too much city in my crew to live on a farm, a visit now and them is just about the best place ever to run free.

It sure does feel pretty wonderful to be in a stage of life that doesn't depend so heavily on nap schedules. An easy third baby is just such a present.

With visits to the animals

Trellises of gourds overhead (who knew that's how those funky shapes came about!)

 and field after field of farm fresh flowers (yours for the picking!!!)

 How could you not have a blast? Seriously. I filled three beautiful vases in my home for three dollars. THREE DOLLARS, PEOPLE.

Some much needed fall fun in the cool sun with my crew.

When we arrived home and I was arranging my flowers, I looked down to this. My little romantic was quite smitten with my three dollar find too.

The rest of our weekend to come!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Walk with your feet"

Oh, friends. We are now entering my most favorite part of the Texas weather patterns... the parktastic kind. It's hard to find a day recently without at least one family outside adventure. Remind me to never move to any place that offers limited outside play options...because right about now, it is perfect! Drop it about 10-15 degrees for daily highs and I may just pitch a tent and take a vacation out there.

You know, we've been having so much parktastic fun recently, that it is really going have to be a blog post to itself. Kinda of like that camping trip video I'm working on... soon.  Ha, such a tease.

Our parktastic dates are really where I feel at peace the most in my life with littles. Which I realize, is a little funny. Too many days spent playing at home makes my brain itchy. Mommy needs the sun, a bunch of trees and some good ole' wind in the hair. Not going to lie... it can be pretty magical.

Case in point.

My Super-Luper is quite a little lover of parks these days too. Miss independent, shows fear of very little in this world and to date, it is in nothing that can be found on a playground. We pass a park on the road and she incessantly yells, "Playglound! Playglound!!! I want to swing swing. Lucy sllllliiiiidddeeee?" It's so cute... how could you not stop?

We embrace the magic of playglounds to the max. Today, my heart was touched by a special little and very long forgotten magic. I glanced over at our littlest miss just in time to teleport back to November of 2008. Don't get me wrong... it was our Lucy for sure.

"Walking with her feet". An old favorite for one other May I know and love.

My kids make me smile. And today, was absolutely no exception.

So. Now that you are feeling all warm and fuzzy, I want you take all (or a least a bit) of that positive energy and send it right on over to our little friend, Adeline Prewett. She is having a VERY important heart surgery tomorrow morning. Who doesn't love a good cheer leader? So, cheer with us for Addie as she once again blows all those doctors away with her incredible strength and beautiful spirit. Her Mom and Dad will send ongoing updates/prayer requests throughout the day on their blog.

A parktastic post coming soon!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dear Molly

We are in literacy overload here, folks and just like Santa Claus every Christmas morning... these letters just keep a'showin' up.

Who knew that all it took to have our endorsement of a Dear Abby, er, Molly, column would be the provisions of some cardstock paper (for the mightiest of thoughts and/or angriest declarations), a couple choice markers and a roll of tape? The kid's on fire.

They appear everywhere. At random hours, Señorita bossypants has taken to written form and there is just no going back. Our oldest is a bit neurotic intense, and really, quite unfortunately for her--- no one else really is. We need structure. We need rules. And now, thanks to Molly's 'gentle' reminders, we can stay on track. She really drives that type A train all the way to the station, no?

Case in point. 

Day one in to Molly's new space, she ran jubilantly -like a spry bony bird- up two flights of stairs to her long awaited, highly coveted new room. Whereas most kids in a moment like this would, I don't know, jump on the bed or something with joy? Perhaps get to playing with all the toys that a certain baby sister in old, shared spaces used to destroy? Nope. First point of action. RULES. On the door. No looting happening in there.

It originally read: "Molly's room. Closd. Today."

After some gentle reminders that harsh texts can really follow you in life... we had a revision. "Molly's room: Closd. Today." BUT. (as really, really highlighted by Molly) if you randomly, happened to accidentally flip it over, you would see in tiny, barely legible form, "Opin." See-- kindness and options. Our very own Mother Theresa.

The letters are really informative reflections of Molly's raw emotions, people. A few weeks ago after her own moment of a terrible-awful that landed her some reflection time in her room, consequently resulted in our first (I'm sure of many) runaway notes. Tearstained ink and all.

* in case you were wondering. Little symbols in bottom right are for love and peace. What an Austinite.

The follow up went a little bit like this:

Molly: "I'm going to have to run away because I just can't be here any more".

Me: "Molly, I'm sorry to hear that because we love you so much. ---open front door--- but if you MUST go, I understand." "Oh, but if you go... don't forget that there some bad people in this world that will not take care of your body like we do at home."

Molly: *several moments of quiet reflection* Well, what will I eat if I go?

Me: "You'll probably have to eat earthworms."

Molly: (Gasp!), Where will I go to the bathroom?

Me: (Flatly ---you really get the best reaction this way), "In the bushes."

Molly: (Heavy sighs/almost whisper talking): "What if it rains?"

Gabriel (interrupting very matter-of-factly): "Well, you're going to get wet."

Molly: (dramatic tears...) 

Gabriel: (A happy exit. His work was done.)

While the plans of escape did come to an abrupt halt, the letters have not.

Her most recent letter appeared last night, taped emphatically to her bathroom drawer for any trespassing, potentially looting, younger siblings to read. I sure hope they consider themselves warned.

Alas, it really is a shame they can't read.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working together

Every once and a while I get little reminders after working two night tshifts in a row that my body is getting older. READ: I'm so tired, I might fall asleep while standing. Let's be honest, those days I don't bring my A game in terms of quality parenting.

Typically, these are the mornings that my children decide to embark on great new dangerous or LOUD forms of play. But eeevvvveerry once in a while, the stars align just right and instead they choose beautiful, happy, let's-pretend-we-are-all-best-friends-all-day together time. It is glorious and yet dangerous all the same. You see, these are the days I look at my kids and say, "Oh, we could totally do four".


Typically directly following that train of thought, is some major life-affirming meltdown between siblings and all is once again right with the world.

A calm post-shift Sunday afternoon is still quite the present though! So thankful!

Friday, October 12, 2012

18 Months


So, I am going to really make an effort to try and document the major milestones here as I am still holding out hope that I will one day-SOME day- put all of this in Lucy's baby book. More just to save face for all the years of complaining to my mom that my incomplete baby book was in direct correlation to her love for me. P.S. I totally get it now, Mom. But, because I am stubborn, I'm going to clutch tight to the belief of ONE day completing it. I left off on the day she was born so really... that's just a little bit or so... no?

18 months. We are there. I have to say, I am loving this age for so many reasons.

Lucy can now tell me almost anything she needs. If she isn't able to, I just tell her the word once and then she  forever locks it in to her vastly expanding vocabulary. She's smart like that. It does make it so much easier to bridge the gap in figuring out her needs, especially because while her vocab is greatly expanding, her patience is ever waning. Hello, toddlerdom. 

Aside from the occasional meltdowns, our ninja baby is fun. No, seriously... this kid is quirky as hell. She tells knock knock jokes over the monitor around 2am almost nightly, she reserves her sweetest dance moves for folk music and her funny face she makes all the time is "smooshy face"... see...

it's funny.

She continues to ninja her way into absolutely everything probably because she really believes she is 4-yrs-old. No toilet paper roll is safe in our home with Lucy around. In fact, nothing is safe. The household animals have accepted their fate and allow for at least 3 daily ass whippings love sessions a day. I think that they know her intentions are in the right place. That or they have no self-preservation. Probably the latter.

Lucy is still tiny and becoming increasingly more blonde.

18 Month Stats:

height: 30.5 inches - 10%
weight: 19.2 lbs- >0%
head: 70% (our big brained beauty!)

She totally rocked her vaccines this time. She was clueless pretty much up until the pokes.

And then after a 2 second cry fest, we fixed the rest of the sadness with chocolate. I'm all about instilling healthy coping strategies, no? Hey, it worked.

So, here's to 18 months, señorita smooshy-face. We sure do love you so!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Demon spawn.

It finally happened. They turned on me all at once and it was awful.

I called Kelly around 5:45 and told him that there was not enough alcohol in this world to erase the memory of the past 45 minutes with the kids.

Not to toot my own horn but I sort of rock the whole grocery shopping with three thing.  I’ll take your jealous stares over the produce aisle and raise you a laughing crew of kids all the way to the car and not think twice about it… well, until now. 

Now, I really hate the old me.

I should have seen it coming… I mean, it didn’t start out pretty. We were literally chased out of our backyard after just 10 minutes of glorious, child-directed play today by a very territorial yellow jacket. Really. Maxey Whitehead, quit laughing. It happened and I didn’t dream it. That bug was fierce and it had a plan to sting EACH and EVERY one of my beloved children. Although, had I known about the wrath they were about to sling my direction, I would have let it. Live and learn, I guess.

I then loaded 3 weeping children in to the car all chanting, “but we haven’t had enough sunshine…” (Man, do they know me or what!). Well, Lucy wasn’t chanting anything, no, she was just crying because I wouldn’t let her bring the pumpkin from the front porch into the car. Mean ole’ Mom.

I drove all the way to HEB on fumes all because I was too cheap to buy gas in our neighborhood. So, after coasting up to the pump, I looked down to realize that my wallet was sitting upstairs at home. Obstinacy, can really take you far. In my case, a jaunt back home, stop for the expensive neighborhood gas and a return trip to the store.

I had 30 minutes. Girl scouts started in 45 minutes and that would get me just enough time to unload groceries and reload people. In hindsight, it was not the best strategy for success. Things really never look that pretty in hindsight, though.

We have a rule in our house. If you need to get anywhere fast… don’t let Gabriel walk if you can avoid it, especially if he is in flip flops.  Let it be known that he hates this rule. So, I completely thought I was going to bypass meltdown and mentally high-fived myself whilst snatching the last of the car carts. I plopped Gabe and Lucy right on in and that is the exact moment the shitith hitith the fan.  Apparently, per Gabriel, “Four year olds cannot sit next to ANYONE wearing a diaper. Ever.” By the time we were halfway done shopping, everyone in the store was aware of the fact. He cried. He wailed. He tried to eat his flip flop. I still can’t figure that last one out.

Meanwhile, Lucy started crying because Molly was wearing some highly coveted sunglasses. Molly began crying because Gabriel had taken hostage yogi bear’s girlfriend stuffed animal (name escapes me) and was offering negotiations of its freedom for his.

Nearing the end of our journey, we had arrived at the cheese aisle. At this point Lucy decided that she wanted out of the cart RIGHT then. Apparently, I wasn’t reacting enough to her pleas of “hold you” so she took matters into her own hands by reaching down and yanking my v neck line all the way to my belly button. Cheese and boobs. Cheese and boobs, people.

Lucy started chanting boobies full volume down the aisle whilst pointing at my fully exposed chest, Molly was crying because her grocery tower had fallen over in the cart and Gabriel had taken to grinding the paper towel roll in a very perverse manner. As I was interrupting the paper towel tango with his nether regions, I look up just in time to see Lucy pretending to put on chapstick, with a tampon that she had opened out of its wrapper and was rubbing across her lips.

Mays out.

Goodbye cart. Hello, take out.

*Never again, will I ever, ever brag about my awesomeness. Lesson learne

Monday, October 8, 2012

This Guy

I find it so funny that my role as a parent is to guide my children through life in the ways of right and wrong. I mean, I get it... that is important. The comedy for me just tends to lie in the fact that for so much of the time, they are my greatest teachers in ways of morality.

And this guy. Well, he is nothing short of amazing.

But, if you know him at all... then you already knew that.

His heart is the purest form of love I have ever known all wrapped up in that chalked-up, dirt-stained, fattest- feet-on-the-planet exterior of a little boy. Sometimes I think of it as a little secret present waiting for anyone willing to sift through all those moments that challenge your tactile aversions just to be near him. Just when I didn't think it was possible to be any more blown away by his loving heart, he gets me good. Quite possibly, my favorite form of spontaneity to date.

Today, during an ever exciting* (insert: dreadfully boring) tag-a-long ride for Mommy's never-ending errands, sitting at a stoplight, completely zoned and greatly missing my left behind coffee, I am awakened to reality by a small voice from the back sounding out: H-U-N-N-N-G-R-Y. (so smart.) Quickly followed by a completely dead-on "Hungry. Mommy, why does that sign say hungry?". To which I flatly replied, "Well, Gabriel, I guess because that man is hungry." Before I even realize what is happening, I hear his little window start to roll down, and look back just to hear him say,

"Well, he can have my snack."

So simple. So loving. So beautiful.

So not from me. Believe me, I'd love to take credit for that. Instead, between instantly welled-up eyelids, a heart bursting with pride for my child, I feel the slow sweep of sadness. What has happened to this world that we no longer give to someone in need for nothing more the selfless act of loving? Why can't it just be as simple as: I don't need this and you really do. So have it.

Instead, it all gets melted into: "This is mine. I earned this. Why can't you earn it too and so on." It's ugly and I am so ashamed to have fallen into that mindset in some shape or form too.

To live in a world that loved you like a Gabriel does would be such a beautiful place to live.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I've been giving a lot of thought these past few days on the idea of community.

Moving to Austin, that was HANDS DOWN the hardest part of leaving. I would wager it is for most people. We had such an awesome community of home. Yet, while all the squishy parts of our insides were nervously telling us to wait for another time... there was something a bit deeper calling us to leave. We listened.

For a bunch of the time in the beginning it sucked. Then one day, it didn't so much. Funny how that changes. Don't get me wrong, I still feel sad about missing my niece's birthday this year and man, would I would just about trade my first born for a state fair corny dog and GIANT pickle. Only kidding about that last part---most days. Dallas book club night still tugs at my heart EVERY.SINGLE.MONTH. And that's okay, because it means it is all so special to me. I expected that missing.

What I didn't expect was all the learning that has grown out of our move.

You see, for our family, we have learned that community grows like flowers. If you plant it, put in some effort and a bit of sunshine, something is going to grow. Might not be exactly what you had originally but that is even better. A garden is prettiest with all different flowers. Our garden sure seems quite beautiful these days.

In the past week, I saw both my parents in Austin. This weekend, we are camping with my in-laws and siblings. During birthday week (more on that to come!), I talked with so many specials in my life. Probably the best birthday gift ever. Three hours away from "home" and we are still feeling the love...

surrounded by fellow transplants...

and a good deal of locals...

celebrating the beginnings of great new adventures.

P.S. Having a rainbow shine RIGHT over you as you say your vows is just about the most magical thing ever. In case you were wondering.

I guess it is safe to say we're feeling pretty great. Rainbows, flowers and all.