Tag Archives: Birthday

Things to remember

Today is my birthday!  Two years ago today, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said “three hours in a coffee shop by myself to write something other than a to-do list”.  He granted my wish, and I emerged three hours later with an essay about my Grandma J and an idea to start a blog.

I haven’t been great about writing recently…I could write an entire entry that was just a list of excuses and explanations (and I might write it soon!), but today, I just want to spend an hour on my birthday making a list of things I don’t want to forget about the last few months.

(1) My grandmother/G.G.  She passed away recently, and I don’t want to forget what an amazing person she was.  Future blog posts need to include how she insisted I keep looking for the right guy…”one who will dance with you, K” (a long story, not a judgment on guys who don’t dance : ), how she struck a deal with that right guy when he came along…”I’ll tell the family I like you if you’ll tell them I’m a good driver”…and how she taught me much about life and cards.  In the meantime, here she is pictured holding H during her one time meeting him and my last time seeing her.  This photo was taken at my sister’s baby shower, where there were lots of friends present.  GG, in the nicest way possible, said to one of them who was sitting between us, “Could you sit back while you talk?  I’m trying to look at that baby!”  Ha!  Love you GG!

GG & Hudson

(2) My excitement over the arrival of my new nieces and nephew!  Oh what joy to be an aunt, and to such precious bundles.  Can’t wait to spoil you cousins O and J and G!   And happy early mother’s day to their mamas!   I will think of you as we’re all up at 3am feeding babies!

(3) How my own kids are growing and changing.

– Precious moments like E lying on the ground one day curled in a tiny ball and looking around.  My question, “What are you doing, E?”  Her response, “Pretending to be an ant!  I was just thinking about how the world must look to them from our sidewalk…”   Love that…

Also love this Valentine’s essay E submitted to her teacher.

E's Valentine essay 2013

If you can’t see the words in the photo, it reads

“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  I love my family.  I love tem because taye are so nis to me.  My mom is so nis because she makes diner for me.  My babby brother dosn’t spit up on me.  Taye are so nis because I am nis to tame.”

I especially love this because E references the fact that H spits up on everyone, something that is such a regular part of our routine but that I will likely forget down the road.   Honestly, it is the kids in my life that get the brunt of it, since they stand near my legs while I’m holding H, putting them right in the line of fire. I hadn’t realized until I read this that E has not only emerged unscathed, but has also taken it as a sign of great affection from her youngest brother.  May you always feel the love, E!

– S becoming such a big girl…after a lot of love and work as she struggled with some separation issues (wanting mama all the time), seeing her happily heading into school and playdates.  I cannot emphasize how huge this is in our world…or how that big smile warms my heart.

S riding carousel 2013

I’m always here if you need me, S.  But I love watching you embrace the world too.   (As a side note, S enters the world with her favorite lovey – her “Angie” doll – always in her backpack.  That doll makes S so happy that I love Angie too.  Honestly, it sounds silly, but I have spent years caring for and protecting Angie…you would too if she were your ticket to sleep-filled nights and happy-child days!…Anyway, I didn’t realize how much it had affected me until I recently saw a different “Angie” doll in a ziploc bag on a table at a consignment sale.  Honestly, I had to restrain myself from tearing the bag open so Angie could breathe!  How’s that for a visceral reaction to a doll that has been big in the life of my child?!  I wanted to buy that doll so badly, but stopped myself because (1) we have over a dozen backups at our house already and (2) I kept thinking about the little girl who might come along next and be delighted  to take her home and love her.   I realize this story makes me sound sappy, or crazy, or both, by the way.  What can I say?  I pray that all of my kids will find a real life “Angie” that will bring them as much comfort and happiness as this doll brings S!

– T becoming such a big boy…potty training and transitioning out of his nap (heaven help me!)  I love the pride he takes in his accomplishments…proudly giving everyone in the family a marshmellow after a successful trip to the bathroom (“this is for you, daddy, because I went in the potty!”)  And speaking of pride in accomplishments, check out my boy after he defeated Donald Duck in arm wrestling : )  (more on our trip to see Donald in a future blog post!)

T defeats D Duck

– H growing at warp speed, but still in that precious baby stage.  He’s not even close to sleeping through the night, but will fall asleep in his crib as long as I rub his head and hold his hand.  I managed to snap one photo of him holding my hand while he was in his carseat.  Note the tiny grip on my thumb in the lower right corner of the photo…

.  .photo

Oh what a fleeting phase of life, when holding mama’s hand makes it all better.  Wish I could comfort all my kids so easily forever!

(4) Lots of other things to remember too…maybe someday I’ll write about our “staycation” during spring break, our week playing “hookie” when we pulled all the kids out of school and went on a road trip, Grammy and Grandpa’s amazing presence as they joined us on our last minute travels, my technological craziness (as my computer and phone both recently died), our constant barrage of minor health issues (fine, as long as the big issues stay away, please!), and so many other everyday life moments I want to remember….

but in the meantime, I’ll simply say that it’s nice to have a few minutes to type : )



OK, I won’t send the photo…but I’m going to have it in my backpack during the next teacher conference (you know, just in case…)

I volunteered in E’s class today, helping the Kindergarteners during their “writer’s workshop”.

In a variation from my normal volunteer routine, I was instructed “not to help E” during the first half of the class, as she was completing “an important writing assessment”.

I was able, however, to catch a glimpse of her work and overhear part of her conversation with the teacher as I helped a few other kids.

E’s assignment was to write and illustrate two sentences about a real-life event.

Of course, E wrote (in her Kindergarten phonics), that just last week her sister rode on a swing that did loops around a clock in a big mouse’s house.

And then she drew exactly that in the space designated for the illustration.

I have decided NOT send the teacher this picture (of E’s sister, taken at Chuck-E-Cheese, exactly one week ago this evening…not pictured: the mouse mascot…).

I think sending it (while intended to convince the teacher that E does have a grasp of reality), might have the opposite effect of convincing her the whole family is nuts!

Happy Birthday, S!

Happy Birthday S!

S turned 4 this week!  She woke up on her special day, and immediately announced, “I think my legs are longer!” I have to admit, she did look bigger to me. She is acting bigger too, all of a sudden – more grown up.  (That’s all good, of course, as long as she doesn’t grow up too fast :  )  We love you, S.  You have been our sweet S since you were born on Valentine’s Day 4 years ago, and you always will be.

Here are a few images from the celebrations this week!

The cake (actually a collection of cupcakes): a “pink pony”

(I did my absolute best, but will admit that it looks a little like what you might get if you crossed a pig with a horse!)

The special birthday activity (You are currently a little horse obsessed, so there was a bit of a birthday theme this week!)

The night of the birthday. (S wanted a Chuck-E-Cheese family celebration, so here Dad & S are playing games there on the birthday/Valentine’s Day.  There is quite a cast of characters that spends their Valentine’s night at Chuck-E-Cheese, by the way… and our whole crew was happily right in the middle of them all!  Rock on Chuck-E…)

And of course, a few special surprises including a chance for S to pick her own fun activity (thank you Grammy and Grandpa…S loves the opportunity to choose an adventure!), her own fishing gear (thank you Nana…S insisted on “fishing” the day after her birthday…thank goodness for a warm day in February…we’ve already caught a minnow in the net!),

testing out the fishing net at Chuck-E-Cheese, before using it to catch a minnow the next day

and finally – a “make-up” kit from my husband and I that lets you draw make up on “paper faces”, which has been a huge hit with S, E, and mom.

(The reason mom likes this present is that this - and similar looks - end up on paper instead of on S' face. Seriously, am I the only one that thinks this look is a tiny bit scary?!)

Our precious S soaked up every minute of all the festivities, activities and treats.  My girl does love a celebration!

We love you, S!  You have been a sweetheart from the beginning and forever will be.  Having your birthday on Valentine’s Day just makes it that much more official.  Happy, happy birthday!

Love, Mom

Updates and Holidays!

So I can already see that my blog posts will be less frequent during the holidays.  Things are joyfully busy around here (i.e. lots to write about, but no time to write it!)

Our updates:

(1) Thanksgiving: wonderful time with Nana, Aunt B, our cousins, and not a single kitchen disaster (this totally makes up for the time I cooked the turkey upside down…)

(2) Happy Birthday to my husband (!):  so grateful for the day this guy was born, the day I met him, the day I married him, the birthday we just spent with him and all the birthdays we hope to share with him in the future.  Happy, happy birthday!

(3) Advent:  As we prepare our home for the holidays, we are trying to prepare our hearts for a celebration of our Savior’s birth and our souls for the day He returns.  How’s that for a “to do” list entering each day?!

(4) Update on E: Thanks to all those praying for E, and to the doctors who have cared for her and advised us (this includes her primary care doctors as well as additional doctors in our circle of friends & family who have offered insight and counsel).  It looks like we are on the tail end of a cold that really hit E’s respiratory tract (and then took a short break before hitting it again even harder), and we have learned a lot about what to look for and do if something like that happens again.   Not since E was a baby have I snuck into her room just to listen to her breathing at night.  Let’s just say I have done that several times this week (and into S & T’s rooms too, even though they have been fine, and E is truly fine now…).  Those breaths are so, so precious.  E (and her mama) are breathing very easily now, praise God!

(5) Update on the blog: I’ll check in when I can this month, but there is so much living to be done right now I can barely find the time to write about it.   So think of us as we dress E in a sheep costume for the church nativity play, head out of state for an early Christmas/family gathering, taking E&S to see the Disney Princesses on Ice, help T eat despite his new obsession with the words “no” and “yuck”, welcome family into our home for Christmas, and celebrate every moment of hustle/bustle AND quiet/peace we find in this holiday season.

…and remind me (after the holidays) to tell you about the e-mail I sent to Santa last week  : )

Short version: I will continue to post when I can this month, but will be back to more regularly scheduled programming in January!  Merry Christmas!

I think I want to weed for my birthday too…

On E’s birthday, we had so many special moments:

– a fun birthday breakfast at a table with E who ate, then opened her presents (a new Jessie doll and sparkly shoes for the dress-up bin!)

– a movie morning with a new movie from the library (what a happy hour watching Mickey Mouse encounter a beanstalk and a giant!)

– a great mid-day as E helped us prepare for her birthday celebration:  We

(a) decorated by making puppy dog faces out of paper plates

(b) made a Dalmation cake and taste-tested both the white frosting and the chocolate chip “spots”


Our homemade dalmation cake (you can also see an upside-down homemade dalmation paper plate project in the upper right hand corner of the photo!)

and (c) used glitter eyeshadow to paint the walls festive colors (ok…this was unsanctioned, and I did insist that the painting stop, but I want a little credit for waiting until the day after the celebration to remove it.  Hey, I’m the mom, but I’m no party pooper!  S was right.  It made such a pretty streak on the wall…)

– a great afternoon with family and a few friends who came over to splash in kiddie-pools, sprawl across slip-n-slides and sing “Happy Birthday”.

– a great evening with a tired but very happy E and her tired but very happy siblings and cousins, all of whom fell asleep in various rooms of our house (including baby cousin G, who slept soundly in the master bathroom) while Nana treated all the grown-ups to Indian take-out.  (Have I mentioned before that Nana absolutely rocks?!)

All-in-all, a fantastic day.  I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it.  But do you want to know what my favorite part of it was?

I think my favorite part of the day was actually when our whole family was pulling weeds at 7am that morning.  Weird, I know, but I can explain…

– During the week, 7am is the hour when I am unloading the dishwasher while T unloads the Tupperware bin, my husband gets ready for work and the girls are allowed to pick a TV show.

– On the weekend, this is often the hour when my husband and I trade-off turns with the kids so one of us can sleep in.

– But on this day (to be with the kids, to prep the yard for a slip-n-slide celebration, and to beat the heat that we knew was coming), my husband and I both got up early and headed outside.

By 6:30am, we had put T in the swing and were on our hands and knees by our flower bed.

By 7am, E & S were awake, we had hugged E happy birthday, and all three kids had decided they wanted to stay outside in the cool and help pull more weeds from the dirt.

By 7:30am, E had taught us how to water flowers with the hose, S had taught us how to use a hoe, and T had painted his belly with mud.

Everyone took turns on the swingset – including mommy and daddy, and everyone wished more than one happy birthday to E.  There were no presents, no big celebrations, (although both were coming), and no requests for TV or anything else.  Instead, our kids were absolutely ecstatic just to be with mom and dad playing around in a yard that was covered in morning mist and (amid a horrific heat-wave that puts our daytime temps at 100 degrees) at that 7am space which is very, very cool…

There are a couple of plays and movies that are based on the idea that you have to pick one moment to view during your afterlife (think “Our Town”).  Most of them end up with the viewer being tortured somehow by what he or she sees.  7am last Saturday morning is a time I think I could pick and be pretty happy forever.  I think part of the reason for that is the approach we took to E’s birthday.  This year, as I wrote our “Saturday’s to do” list for E’s birthday (a list of at least 2 dozen things we had to accomplish the day-of as we prepared for her celebration), I literally wrote down as #1: Spend time with the kids.

(Side note: this idea was stolen from my sister and mom…my mom always kept a whiteboard hanging in the kitchen with a section entitled “to do” on it.  Once, my sister A wrote “Hug A” as number 1 on the to do list, and my mom never erased it.  Seriously, I know that it was up there for at least a decade, that it was there last time I was in Nana’s house, and I imagine it is still there!  Anyway, I often think about that when I make to do lists now…)

Anyway, we still had a lot of hustle and bustle and distracted preparations, especially in the mid-afternoon (hey, I don’t want to sugarcoat it…we were running around like mad right before the celebration and I can only hope the kids enjoyed the excitement too), but we did a pretty good job of maintaining our focus most of the day and especially in the cool at 7am.

And that focus – that time – is our real gift to you and your siblings, E.

Thanks for teaching us how to water the flowers, and go really high on the swingset.

And Happy, Happy Birthday!


Mom and Dad

Happy Birthday E!

E had a wonderful birthday yesterday!  More details to come, but for now I just had to share one of the reasons turning 5 is so amazingly fantastic from a kids’ perspective.

Direct quote from E (to everyone she saw yesterday, while holding her five fingers up):

“Today is my birthday!!  I am FIVE!!  That means I am a WHOLE HAND!!!”

The only problems with this picture (other than the fact that the girl’s thumb is very high on her hand, isn’t it?) is that the girl is sitting.  E couldn’t say it without jumping up and down!

Can you believe it?!?!  E is a whole hand!!!!

It doesn’t get much more exciting than that!

We love you so much, E!  Happy Birthday!

Mom tip of the day… “wine-tote” turned “sippy-cup-carrier”

A tip I have been meaning to post for a while, but had forgotten to write about until today when Nana, Uncle T, Aunt B and I took 6 kids to both the science museum and to an awesome early birthday dinner (with singing waiters and candles and sprinkles) for E (more birthday details soon!)…

The tip (presented as a set of easy-to-follow instructions)

(1)  Head to Whole Foods.

(2)  Buy 6 bottles of their $3 wine and get (a) a 10% “bulk” discount and (b) a free, divided wine tote to carry your bottles home.

(3)  Drive home.

(4)  Unpack the wine.

(5)  Use the empty tote to carry sippy cups!  The cups don’t fall over and leak in your bag, because the bag is designed to hold them upright.  Also, the straps are sturdy enough to hold the weight of multiple water bottles (I have some canvas bags that strain to do this, but these bags are specifically designed to hold big bottles of liquid.)

(6)  Bonus: If you don’t need space for six cups, the empty compartments are perfect for holding sunscreen and snacks (especially if you pack your snacks in those infant “puff” containers that are cylinder shaped).

(7) The Real Bonus: You now have six bottle of wine to drink.  Thanks to your handy tote, the kids have been hydrating all day.  Now it’s your turn.  Enjoy.

And a final note: Our day at the museum was fantastic (picture enthralled kids eating ice cream made with liquid nitrogen) and E loved her special dinner.  I was reminded of this mom-tip because we had six kids with us – a perfect number for our wine tote – not because we needed six bottles of wine after our trip.

(OK, the real final note:  During the time between the museum and the special dinner, our cousins rested while Nana and I took my 3 kids to the pool for E’s neighborhood Kindergarten meet & greet.  After 30 minutes on the pool deck getting everyone into suits and floaties, applying sunscreen, and convincing T to put on a swim diaper and sit in his boat (ably steered by captain Nana), everyone was in the pool except for me.  That is precisely the moment when another kid had an “incident” (i.e. puked in the water) that required the staff to close the pool.  I am still not sure which is worse: being one of the people in the water when this happens (what’s up, Nana!  Watch out for that oily patch moving toward you…), or being the only one who spent the entire trip on the blazing hot (100+ degrees) pool deck getting kids dressed for the water (hello hot 30 minutes) and then (30 more minutes!) getting them dressed to go home. For those not keeping track, that is a solid hour of heat with a small side of vomit.)

A cool glass/bottle/6 bottles of chardonnay, anyone?

Or how about 12 bottles?  I think I could use another wine tote…

Happy Birthday T!!!

Happy First Birthday T! (DSC_0556)

Happy Birthday T!!!

You are one year old, and you are one fantastic kid.  You have our hearts forever!

With love (and extra frosting),

Your Mom