Tag Archives: Birthdays

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 : )

Hugs,

K

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You’d think I’d be better at this by now…

More catching up from 2012…

In the last post I emphasized how excited we all were to meet baby H.  The kids were naturally excited, and we encouraged that, telling them all what great siblings they would be, how much the new baby would love them, showing them the ultrasound pictures, reading books about new babies, moving all the car seats around early (so no one felt displaced or relocated right after the baby was born), etc.  We heightened the excitement by telling them we thought the new baby might even bring them a present and by letting them place a hand on mom’s tummy to feel their new sibling give them a high five.

We thought we had done a pretty good job preparing them, until they all came in to meet baby H just hours after he was born.  The girls (ages 6 & 4) were thrilled to meet him and thrilled with their gifts – little wooden dolls they could cover in paint and glitter.  Both greeted their new brother then immediately started doing their designs on the couch of our room.

T (age 2) was also thrilled to meet his little brother and ecstatic over his present – a train named “Diesel 10”.  In fact, he was so excited about the gift that he actually wanted to call his new brother “Diesel” (which I thought was an awesome moniker, by the way…and the nurses told us since H was at least 2 lbs bigger than everyone else in the nursery, he would have been totally able to carry the name…)

Well, it was all going swimmingly until two year old T paused from his train play, walked back over to me to take another look at the new brother I was holding, and said,

“He’s so cute!  But where is his mom???”

Oops.

Cue the damage control monologue from me:

“Oh!  T!  Sweetie!  You know how I’m your mom and E’s mom and S’ mom at the same time?  Well, I’m his mom too!  I’m going to be everybody’s mom.  And, as your mom, I’m telling you that I love you so much! And now he loves you too!  Isn’t that good?!”

“Oh!” T says, totally taking that in stride (to my great relief).  And then he follows up with this…

“Guess what?! I brought the new baby a present!  It’s a choo choo…”

To which I respond, “T, that is SO NICE of you!  I see it!  It’s one of your choo choo’s!  And you’re going to share it with our new baby?! That is SO NICE!  He just loves it; will you show him how to play with it?  He’ll learn so much from you!”

To which T responds, “Yes!  I will!  And I really want him to have it! (and this next part said with such wonderful intent and complete pride in his generosity as a big brother… ) “You know, when he leaves the hospital, he can even take this train back to HIS house with him!!!”

Oops, again.

I guess somehow, in all the baby prep and high fiving and “you’ll be a great big brother!”, we neglected to state in a very pointed and specific way that the new baby would be coming back to our house and living with us.

Quite an oversight.

And while normally, there might have environmental cues for T (such as a crib for the new baby to sleep in our house…), the reality at was that we began a massive renovation just a few days after H was born (a month-long 3 room construction project).  In other words, while our hearts were completely ready for H, his room didn’t get built until many weeks after he was born!  Our environmental cues were all chaos, blueprints and contractors, with no sign of a crib!

Fortunately, T was ecstatic to hear that we got to keep the new baby at our house.  (Beyond ecstatic…jubilant!)

Whew.

Still, I am astounded that with all our baby prep, we never managed to convey specifically to T that I would be the new baby’s mother, and that the new baby would be coming to live in our house.

Don’t know how I missed that 2012 Mother of the Year title…

: )

Thank God for my wonderful, loving, open-armed (albeit unprepared-despite-my-best-efforts) kids.

DSC_0876

labor pains for the husband (more out-takes from 2012…)

More stories from the last few months…

Actual text message exchange between my husband and me, two weeks before baby H was due last October.  My husband left for work that morning hoping to finish early enough to attend T’s class picnic dinner.  I texted him that afternoon, as I was packing the picnic basket.

The exchange…

Me:  “Leaving soon.  Should I pack a sandwich for you?”

His response: “WHAT?!  Leaving for the hospital?  Are you in labor?”

My response: “Leaving for T’s picnic.”

Send.

Then, unable to resist, me again…

“But I love that you think I would be at home, with three children, in labor, needing to get to the hospital, and would stop everything to text you and see if I should pack you a sandwich.”

My husband: “Ha, Ha.  I’ll take turkey.”

In all fairness to my husband, I did have him (and myself, and my sister who was visiting and helping us) spooked, announcing on several occasions that I thought I was in labor before the actual event.  The best false alarm was when I was having contractions 4-5 minutes apart while sitting on the couch, encouraging him to pack his bag and load the car.  When he was completely ready, I got up and said we should leave as soon as I had eaten something (knowing they wouldn’t let me have anything at the hospital…)  Mid-snack, the contractions stop completely and I said, “Huh.  I think the contractions stopped!  I really do.  I think we can just go to bed.”

To which my husband replied, “You’re kidding, right?  Because it’s 10pm, and I just chugged 3 Mt. Dews!

Sheepish silence from me.

Uncontrollable laughter from my sister!

(Oh, newborn baby H, the main thing you should take from these stories is that your daddy was very, very eager to meet you.  We all were.  And you made us wait 6 days past your expected delivery date!)

update on the past month, part 2

Other things we’ve been up to this month…

(1)  Exploring!

Here we are at NC State’s “farm day”.  Note to self: pack vegetarian lunches next year.  Otherwise, S may look at the animals walking around in their pens and ask questions like, “Is that turkey like the turkey I just ate for lunch?” and you will have to field panicked looks from nearby families until you say something misleading like “NO ONE is going to eat THAT turkey!!!”  (and at least one mother will mouth the words “thank you” as you’re leaving.)

S milking a pretend cow. There were also bunnies to pet, calf statues to lasso, and free ice cream. I thought T would like the “touch a tractor” section, but he just yelled “Big Scary Truck!” as we moved away.  I guess he’s used to the matchbox versions.

We also visited the big museum about 40 minutes away (a special outing for us!).  Friends gave us passes they weren’t using (thank you!), and we had an absolute blast.  T fed his train obsession in this exhibit.

T could have happily played here for the entire day.

And how about this sign at the exit of that exhibit?

It’s like they knew T was coming…

(2)  Celebrating!

Our cousins had lots of birthdays, so we have been to their house for a “Tangled”-themed treasure hunt, to a park near their house for their one-year-old’s cake smashing soiree, and to a pasture within that park to just admire the horses and views.  (Thank you, cousins!)  One photo, from my brother, who is by far my favorite photographer (as long as he’s not taking “work photos” of my children, i.e. “X-rays”…)  Can you believe this photo was taken by someone who just plays around with the camera during the off-time from his Orthopedic Surgery practice?

S in the white, E in the green, cousin G with the long ponytail and cousin E in his superman cape.  Childhood captured in photo.

(3)  Hanging around

Check out E on the swing in our backyard.  Photo credit to my brother again.  How much about spring and childhood and E is captured in this one photo of her muddy feet?  Volumes, I tell you.

(4)  Fishing!

Nana got the kids a fishing pole AND managed to disassemble the pole and fix it after I broke it (thank you, Nana!).  Since I clearly don’t know how to handle a rod, dad took over the casting lessons, and the kids had a blast.

Noteworthy: the kids will spend an hour catching minnows and tadpoles in their nets at the local pond and collecting them in a water filled bowl that we pour back into the pond before we leave.  Here are E & T inspecting their catches with Nana…

Also noteworthy: the girls “fished” for an hour with dad with a plastic stopper on the end of the reel (i.e. no bait or hook) and were thrilled with the experience.  I can’t imagine what they will do when we actually introduce the idea that you could use the pole to catch a fish.

(5)  Trying to keep our heads above water in terms of housework

With this much fun going on, mom has had to work overtime to simply keep our familial feet underneath us.  Exhibit A: every few weeks I have to go through a pile that looks like this to pull any artwork or projects we want to save.

This process deserves a post of its own.  Stay tuned.  Then there’s the normal stuff.  I mentioned before that I lost the battle with the laundry.  I fared only slightly better in the kitchen.  And Nana saved me with regards to everything else.  (see below)

(6)  Spent time with Nana!

Nana’s visit was devoted to catching up, hanging out, and pitching in. In addition to fishing, playing, taking the kids to several museums (T was adorable riding the train at the local science museum and still asks to “go ride James” again at least every other day), Nana just rolled up her sleeves and help me get some things done.

More detail?   I am just out of the first trimester of pregnancy, which means I am still exhausted, but also feeling my version of a nesting instinct.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I have no desire to clean, but an overwhelming urge to organize and declutter (my normal instinct, but taken to a fever-pitch during pregnancy).  The end result: During pregnancy, I am desperate to get organized but too tired to actually do it, which leaves me very frustrated.  While she was here, Nana helped me sort through the kids outgrown clothes and she watched the kids and took care of lots of everyday things (the kitchen! the laundry!) while I tackled the attic, my desk, the bankbook, and several projects that have been languishing on my “to-do” list literally for years.  Thank you, Nana!  We loved playing with you and are so appreciative of all the help.  (I haven’t listed everything you helped me catch up on because I am embarrassed that I was that far behind!)

More updates coming…have I mentioned that it’s been a busy month?!

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!

“My Goat in a Box”

Just finished mowing the lawn for E’s outdoor birthday celebration tomorrow.

When I started at 9am, it was 90 degrees out with a heat index of 98.

I am now thinking about returning the doll we got her as a birthday present and purchasing her a pet goat who will earn his keep in yardwork. (The goat could double as a belated anniversary gift for my husband, who usually mows the lawn but is out of town for work until this evening.)

I mean, if I presented it like this…

goat_present_230x130

"My Goat in a Box"

…how could they not love it?!