Monday, November 9, 2015


I know I am just jumping from Halloween to Christmas but bear with me for a minute.

With November travels pretty stacked for the Mays, I decided to attempt our Christmas card picture a little earlier than normal and knock it out this past weekend.

My picture idea was really loose and randomly thrown together. I have to say... I am pretty surprised by all the available options. Stay tuned for that.

BUT. My absolute most favorite part of taking pictures of my Magnificent Mays are the outtakes. This is the perk to having Mom behind the lens. Nobody hides their crazy.

I mean, seriously. Let's not forget my most favorite outtake of all time. Texas Bluebonnets 2015.

I still can't look at this without laughing. I like to think it went something like "Here kids, lie in a field of bumblebees and look directly in to the face of the sun and smile." Man. Sometimes being a kid is the worst.

Last weekend's photo shoot did not disappoint. Here they are in all their unedited glory.

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. 
You grow old because you stop laughing."

-Michael Pritchard-

Halloween Town 2015

I don't know if your family is anything like mine in this (although, I am pretty sure it is a universal kid-standard) but my children pretty much start planning their Halloween costumes for the next year on November 1st. Some years... even a few days before the current Halloween. This is when I nervously remind them that I just pulled an all nighter blowing up 75 balloons for said child to be a cloud and currently have one failing lung. There will be no take-backs.

May Family Rule: No changing your mind about your costume if you are within 3 days of Halloween. Instead, just plan for next year.

Don't get me wrong, all those elaborate plans that transform over the course of 365 days are crazy amazing. For instance, Lucy has already told me that for next Halloween 2016 she is going to be Puff the Magic Dragon and have a cloud dress, a tail with rhinestones, green eye shadow and some "mostly scary" dragon ears. Who wants to bet that she will actually stick with Puff for the remainder of the year?

It would be a first.

So this year, with the release of Cinderella (not cartoon) and Inside Out, I was pretty sure that costume ideas would center around something overtly happy and crazy elaborate. A theme would definitely not be happening... too many people and too many opinions.

Turns out, I know nothing.

I give you the happiest, charming, terrifying pack of villains I ever did see.

(Darth Vader, Cruella, Maleficent, and Lotso)

It would seem the Mays prefer the darker side of a fairy tale. I pretty much dig it.

We did have some costume snafus here along the way. I mean, what is a quality Halloween without a wardrobe malfunction or two? That's why we have candy... to stop the crying when your costume turns on you. This year, we made it out with just two. Annie went as Lotso the bad bear from Toy Story 3. Hard to see her cane in this picture but HOLY COW it was so funny to see her walk with it. Also not pictured here is her purple bear fur. It turns out... purple dye doesn't take too well to fur. So when your Mom waits until the night before to dye your brown furry bear self, only the cotton parts of your paws (read the parts I wanted to stay white) turn purple. C'est la vie.

I think the ONLY child that miiiiiiight have kept his costume idea almost the full 365 days was Mr. Vader. A day that Gabriel didn't talk all things Star Wars would be the day that the world would come to the end... and I firmly feel that he would likely be chattin' up all things Hoth and Yoda with all those angels in the afterlife too. Kid loves him some Star Wars.

We went back and forth on Gabe's costume negotiations. I was convinced that I could concoct the most amazing and elaborate Darth Costume to ever grace this mortal world and Gabe on the other hand was adament that I would most definitely not even attempt it.When I finally caved to buying a costume, he had one FIRM rule. Darth Vader does not wear a mask. He wears a HELMET. He emphasized this so much that Annie could probably remind me in her sleep. Wouldn't you know it, but the Darth costumes that you buy for kids don't typically come with a helmet? Nope... just the mask. My solution was this incredible pinterest find that taught me how to MAKE the most amazing darth helmet ever. It was killer. At the mention of it, Mr. Fun Sponge acted as if I really was a killer and I had just stabbed a knife through all logic and reasoning as he knew it.

Helmet Schmelmet. I mean, I guuuuesss he looked legit.

(my costume would have been 18 times cooler. Just sayin')

Can we please take a minute to discuss how ridiculously expensive Darth Vader helmets are? It's like there is a cult following of grownups that attend conventions or something... or like the year of a final movie release or something... I mean, seriously. Ridiculously expensive.

Until... Amazon saved the day. (I'm starting an addict's group so please let me know if you are interested in joining). One delightful afternoon I stumbled upon this random helmet that was not too pricey and after reading about 60 reviews, had confirmed that it was actually a full helmet and of decent quality in our price range. DONE and DONE. Thank you Amazon Prime. Sorry, UPS. Please don't light my house on fire on one of your daily visits.

Fast forward to trick or treating with friends. Gabe heads out... candy bag in hand.. and promptly walks into a tree. Apparently, kid costumes come with a mask for a reason. Something about the complete lack of sunlight, mobs of costumed children and abundant sugar. Masks are wearable... helmets are not. For perhaps any other child but Gabriel, the solution would be to just take off the helmet and run for the candy. Nope. There was stomping of feet, there was gnashing of teeth and even the yelling of a "this is the worst day ever" thrown to anyone in a 2 mile radius. It was not pretty. After all incentives to problem solve and calm were cast aside, Gabe and Kelly made the trek towards home. Somewhere 4 streets away in true Gabriel form... he just decided to randomly get over it and go trick or treating right there by his lonesome. It's enough to give you an eye twitch... or in the case of these parents... two.

The rest of the night was the Halloween magic we have come to expect. Lots of laughter, Alcohol in one hand and a baby jogger in the other. Waaaaay to much eye makeup. The epic candy crash for days to follow. Drop a daylight savings in to the mix and you are looking at the cruelest Halloween trick of all.

Halloween 2015. It's been real.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Great Catch Up.

It has been quite season of living. Three months seems like such a small amount of time and yet, look at these fresh faces...
Almost halfway through with 2nd grade, 4th grade and Lucy's last year of preschool. Annie couldn't even walk in this picture and now we can barely keep up with her. Incredible, really.

So. The UPDATE. (and Annie's 15-month post)

The Hubster.

Turns out if you give Kelly about 12 hours and Game of Thrones on audio book , then he can change a crazy-challenging alternator on the van. Who knew, right? Above picture was about 3 hours in. There is no after photo. I went to bed with the one request to please shower before getting anywhere close to our bed. My incredible partner in crime. He works so very hard to provide for our family each and every day. I sure do love him so. This past month we had our dateaversary (which is pretty much what you celebrate only when you started dating someone in high school). 18 years of loving this man. It would seem that our relationship is now old enough to vote. Thank goodness we both liked each other for more than half the years. Relationships are hard work. Who knew?


Well. It would seem that antidepressants are wonderful. Probably should have explored that as an option years ago. Sorry, family. I started taking Cymbalta a couple months ago for Fibromyalgia and talk about a game changer. Side effects were an initial big kick in the butt but for the decreased joint pain and the ability to not feel like I have an 100 lb weight of anxiety on my chest... I'll take the side effects. I've cut back to PRN at the hospital as an attempt to better balance my work/home life... and really as a way to try and find some time to sleep. Still a work in progress. But I feel happy and loved. That sure feels pretty wonderful.

 My oldest baby is anything but a baby these days. This girl has grown the most incredible, witty sense of humor. Her stories are captivating. Additionally, it would seem she is a black belt in side eye. For such a tiny person, she sure can throw some serious shade. Molly is a bit all over the map... or as my pediatrician described it "a preview to the hormones of puberty." Can I tell you how swell it is that I have three daughters? When not anxious (something she is working on), Molly floats between utter disgust for her family ...

and the most beautiful whimsy. 

 We see you in the horizon middle school... don't think we won't be ready.


When I wake up for the day I never know which Gabe is going to greet me at breakfast. This kid can whip together a mean alter-ego. It is pretty much my favorite.

Second grade started a little rough with missing his best buddy that moved away. I have never been more thankful for our school and their incredible care and communication with the entire family unit. He has come so very far in such a short time. Gabriel started karate this year and he loves it. He is in the practice of the Korean Martial Art, Tang Soo Do. With the focus as a defensive martial art and awareness of your body, it is the perfect study for him.


This kid, guys. I don't even know where to begin with her. I watch Lucy from a distance and stand in awe of the fact that my body was able to grow such a fierce spirit. I love every ounce of her boundless joy but at the same time feel completely terrified what the teenage version of this child will become.

Our resident comedy genius...

working so hard to learn how much is too much. 

She's getting there. The giggles we stifle in the process of her self regulation she will never come to know. Four-years-old is my favorite age.

This is our 15-months of sunshine, right here. 

height: 27.75 inches (>1%)
weight: 18 lb (6th%)
head: 44.8 cm (26th%) 

Her laughter, crazy blonde hair, twinkly eyes... to say we are all smitten is just about the biggest understatement. Our Annie-girl. How lucky are we to have her in our life? 

It is so funny to see her personality growing. She has developed the most intense love of Mommy, dogs, balls and ice cream.

Oh, ice cream. The struggle is real.
This month, Annie was completely discharged from therapy as she is now a full time walker. We are so thankful for Ms. Kara and all the care she had for our little lady,

Additionally, at her last ortho-appointment, Annie's doctor discharged her from wearing her brace 12 hours a day. What an unexpected answer to prayers. We might have celebrated with some fancy hats.

You see. Annie is all things fancy hats these days. 

Don't let that cuteness fool you. You can't take your eyes off her for a second. 
Annie, at 15-months-old, has 12-15 words, loves to point, laugh and bark. She is completely convinced that the globe that sits in the front room is a ball that needs to be thrown. Recently, she discovered her reflection and she couldn't stop kissing the window.

We sure are thankful she's ours. 

A very still love.

Sometimes, it would seem, my very best version of loving myself means finding my own little space to be still. Sounds like such a lovely and simplistic concept, really. Do not be fooled...stillness take some very hard work.

Now. I need us to take a minute for a little reality check.

My version of "still" pretty much just resonates as less time screen time and larger doses of time in the sun. The noise level pretty much remains consistent in my version of "still" because hello, a million people live in my house. The waiting, needing, company in the bathroom type of noise... you bet... it sticks around. It is good to have those constants in your life right??

***Dear God, I am really not asking. I can't allow myself to think there is the possibility that others have that much less noise in their lives. Jade is not my color.***

Can you believe all that long ago quiet and calm of my inner most voice met me in the chaos?

What I had kept so shuttered for all that time, burst the softest light through my upstairs window one Tuesday afternoon...

 through all my windows it would seem...

the boundless possibilities overflowed in drifting currents...

masked in the gentlest of company...

and wrapped me up in the safest comforts of home.

Sometimes, your heart just craves connection...

 a chance to truly feel seen...

and loved for the beautiful person within that you used to know...

 Like a warm, gentle breeze...

"Still" renews.

It would seem I am back. With a clearer mind and a peaceful heart.

Cheers to that, friends.

The great catch up to come.