Friday, February 25, 2011

Changing decades

*Alternate title: "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to"

dun, dun, duuuun.

My twenties were good to me. I graduated from college, married the love of my life and had three wonderful babies. I keep hearing, "just wait, your 30's are even better". I can't see how, but I guess I'm not given the option. :) {I'll let you know, from the vantage point of "older and wiser".}

I have, however, decided that this will be my last birthday. Ever. Not so much because I am scared of aging, (I'm not) but because my birthdays are historically horrible. Don't get me wrong, I've had some good ones, but the last 5 have been particularly disastrous (says the girl who LOVES birthdays, especially mine, because it means a day is all about me. I guess that's why I'm tired of them. They aren't all about me anymore...). Anyway. I'll do a quick recap for you. Last year, I was in the hospital with Ryan over my birthday {you know, croup}. '09 we were at the hospital getting x-rays of Anna-Kate's chest {they thought it was pnemonia, it wasn't). The year before that, I was in the hospital recovering from the train-wreck that was childbirth to produce Ryan. '07 we were moving the day of my birthday, I was the only one in my whole family not sick and Chris forgot about my birthday. {You may all begin feeling sorry for me now. Thank you.}

N-E-Way. I took the kids down to my parents' house for a couple of days this week. Since this is the big 3-0, I decided this would be the year that we would turn around my birthday being horrible {but you know, the best laid plans...but I get ahead of myself}. Mom had planned to cook a big birthday dinner for me and had invited my grandparents over to celebrate. I had to run a quick errand to pick up Ryan's pictures (a story for another post) and return something. Mom and Jack came with me and my Dad stayed back with the big kids. I congratulated myself on hurrying and returned to the car at 5:03 (we were supposed to pick up my grandparents "5ish"). I couldn't find my keys. I'm not one to lose my keys, {I leave that to Leigh-Ann, lol} so I checked the only place my keys ever are if not in my purse: on the drivers seat. Yep, there they were, next to my phone. Thankfully, mom had AAA {of which I've really gotten her money's worth!} so immediately called. Long story short, we waited 2 hours and didn't get dinner on the table until 8:05 (if you know me, my kids' "schedule" had me twitching!). Chris begged me not to drive home and to stay the extra night. {Side note, the evening actually turned out to be fairly relaxing and fun.}
I planned to get up and leave at 8 this morning to make Ryan's well-baby appointment at 9:20 this morning, but when I called to tell them I would be late, they said they were booked and I couldn't be late. So, I waited until 10 to leave, to coincide with Jack's nap. (we also had a birthday party that I was forced to miss and were invited to the childrens museum with friends, but missed that too. Urgh.) Ryan's had another couple week run where we have battled wills {I keep telling him Mommy will always win, but he is certainly giving me a run for my money}. This morning was no exception. Children should be more clearly taught that there are certain days of the year that require perfect behavior out of them--my birthday being one of them. Anyway, I began driving, already exhausted. We were about 25 minutes into our 75 minute drive when all lanes of traffic stopped pretty suddenly. And there we sat. For a long time. Long enough that Toy Story ended in the car, Jack woke from his nap and I had less than 1/4 tank of gas. We finally got going again only to come to a complete stop about 2 miles up. Here began, "I'm tired of sitting here", "when are we there?", "I need to go potty", "why aren't we going?". It was awesome.

So, the tradition continues (at least we aren't in the hospital this year, right?). Let's all enjoy it, my last birthday. Here's to hoping 2012 brings a smoother February (since my expectations will be set particularly low in anticipation).

Thankfully, Chris turned the evening around for me with a wonderful night out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A pirates life for me!

Ryan requested a Captain Hook birthday party. (I am continuing the trend of Halloween costumes getting a second use for the following birthday--last year was Mickey and he's already talking about his "Buzz year" party next year, and the kids will be characters from Toy Story next Halloween. Makes me happy. Anyway). I googled "pirate cake" and found an awesome picture to copy. I was a little overwhelmed, but knew Ryan would D-I-E when he saw it. I looked everywhere for the Capt Hook and Peter Pan to put on the cake, but discovered they are only sold at Disney stores-in Disneyworld. With shipping, the cake toppers would have run me over $30. I was beyond stoked when I remembered that I had my brothers old Playmobile pirate ship (and accessories) in the attic. SCORE! It worked out perfectly for cake toppers.

The cake (thanks to Leigh-Ann for coming over and helping me think through how to make it all work and hand icing those blasted wafer cookies! :) Such a good friend.)

Close up:

My 3 year old pirate:

All ready for the party (since Anna-Kate and Lydia were the only girls they came as princesses).

My parents went in with us and go the kids a bounce house for their (collective spring) big birthday present. We didn't tell them, just blew it up and let them come out and see it. It was a HUGE hit! I've been looking for one for quite some time and found the one I wanted on a huge weekend sale through amazon. So great!

"I jump!" Then, Ryan looked at my mom and said, "Nana, do you just LOVE this?!?" :)

His first look at the cake

I think he liked it. :) (makes all of those hours worth it!)

More jumping

With his buddies, Jack and Lydia

Group shot of all the guests (babies included!).

Waiting to blow out his candles (here with his sweet little friend, Brooks, from school, his "best" friend.)

The treasure map that Chris helped the kids interpret to find buried treasure.

I so appreciate how "in to" everything Chris got. Here he is leading the kids on their treasure hunt.

The kids finding their treasure (I saved baby food jars, had Chris spray paint the lids black, put a pirate sticker that matched Ryan's invitation--from vistaprint, for free--and filled it with chocolate filled gold coins. Each kid got their own to take home with their foam ($1 bin) sword for their favor.)

This was the year of Woody and Buzz. Ryan is crazy about those characters (who, up until now, existed only on his underwear). Here is is opening his present from Chris' parents.

Anna-Kate picked out this Toy Story puzzle for Ryan weeks ago and just couldn't wait until his real birthday to give it to him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clearly, we make a big deal out of holidays.

So, as I looked through all 9 million my "valentines day" pictures I realized: I have a problem. We've been celebrating over a week. :)

We kicked off the celebrations with the father/daughter date night at the Chick. As I mentioned before, flowers are not lost on this girl!

Then, we had Anna-Kate's Valentines Tea Party. SO fun! She had 3 little friends from school over for lunch (pb and strawberry jelly sandwiches cut into hearts, red apples, popcorn and juice in tea cups). We followed that up with hot tea (herbal gingerbread) with milk and sugar, (I'd imagine it was quite sweet as I let them get their own from the Cinderella sugar pot) sugar cookies with hearts on them and strawberry (pink!) icecream in the center and chocolate chip scones (you're welcome, moms, for the sugar high!). The girls all wore their favorite red and pink outfits and behaved so well. I told them about proper tea manners and even threw in "pinkies in the air" and about fell over laughing when they all tried to hold their cups and stick their pinkies up (while holding their saucers in the other hand--quite comical, and not so refined. ha!).

Anna-Kate, Annie, Natalie and Campbell

Chris had to go out of town on a short business trip on Valentines Day. Anna-Kate and I walked downstairs to a wonderful surprise. Chris had gotten up crazy early and filld the kitchen with Valentine surprises! There was a huge vase of tulips on the island, a mylar balloon for each of the kids. There was chocolate, roses and my chili cheese fritos. :) I was blown away! I made pink milk, (added food color)and banana pancakes cut into the shape of hearts. The kids got a big kick out of that. :) We hurried off to school for Anna-Kates class Valentines party (aka, day 1 of Little Caesars pizza for the week).

Festive breakfast:

My tulips (my fav!!)

Ryan and Lydia

Me and my sweet girl

Sweet sibling shot:

Since Chris was out of town (aka I had a long afternoon/night coming) and it was early enough that Jack wasn't going to miss his nap, I decided to be "fun mom" and stay to spend some time at the playground!

Ryans party was on Tuesday. Here he is with his sweet teacher, Ms. Tanya

His other teacher, Ms Courtney. We have been so blessed with our kids' teachers!

Me with my big boy!

The big sisters at the little kids party on Tuesday.

Jack enjoying (day 2) Little Caesars pizza.

He is my sweet, silly, "funny valentine". Love this boy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

As usual

It's been a busy week. And, a poor week for our luck with technology to continue computer to stop working.

Coming soon (after all of my pictures get re-uploaded to the reformatted computer):
Anna-Kate and Ryan's valentines day parties.
Anna-Kate's tea party pictures
Ryans pirate birthday party.

Ya, I know, busy week.

Happy Saturday, bloggyworld!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be still my heart

I love Valentines Day.

There are many naysayers (cough, cough SCROOGES) out there who tout no need for the love holiday. While it's true that I love Chris every day of the year, I enjoy a day set aside to specifically demonstrate love. And let's be honest, shall we, who doesn't love getting fresh flowers? I mean really.

So Chris had to go out of town for the day on a business trip and left well before we woke up. I was a little bummed, but we went out for a special dinner last weekend and I was fully prepared for it. Imagine my surprise when I came downstairs this morning with Anna-Kate and walked into the kitchen and saw flowers. Everywhere. There were 3 bunches of tulips (my absolute fav. Well, and roses and gerber daisies, but whatever.) in a vase. Beyond that, he had gotten a mylar balloon for each of the kids and a little chocolate for the big two. Anna-Kate had hot pink roses (I may have been jealous at the color--they were so pretty!) at her place, and there were a bouquet of red roses at my place at the table with chili cheese fritos proped up next to them. (A long standing joke...they are my favorite chips but they are absolutely horrible for you and they stink--well, they smell like chili. Anyway Chris hates the smell of them and it became his way of showing his love to me to buy me a bag every year on various holidays. Ironic that this year he bought them when he was out of town.).

I was blown away by Chris' thoughtfulness to make today special. I was also blown away by the priority he is placing on setting a strong male leader/husband role to our children. A few weeks ago when he took Anna-Kate to the daddy daughter date at Chick-fil-a, he went and bought her a rose and then came and knocked on the door to "pick her up". It is precious to me to watch him and I am so very blessed. Anna-Kate lovingly replaced her (on it's last leg) rose with her new ones in her room. I have flowers in most rooms of my house and I am just very happy. And, it smells lovely.

On a sadder note, I took a good many pictures today, but my computer is messed up. So, tomorrow. :) For now, happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let the reader decide

Vivid imagination or horrible parenting?

This is what I walked down the stairs to find this morning. In case this is not readily obvious to you, Ryans {self made} "birthday cake". {Thumb tacs are "candles".}

Alternate title: very thankful I found this "cake" before Jack.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My happy dance

So, if you follow me regularly, you know that planning our Disney trip this year has been a bit of a headache (for your reading pleasure, check out this and this).

Anywho. I decided to write a letter of complaint because things still were not squared away. I threw in a few "my experience thus far has been far from magical" (yada, yada). A lovely guest service lady, Yolanda, called me back while I was out of town and the message got lost in the shuffle. I was a little bummed out that things were progressing normally as I did not have a good reason to call her back and ask for something free (you know, my M.O.). Enter, my mom. She tried to add something to our reservation and it wouldn't allow the order to be processed and we got the same "I've never seen this screen before"...It's sad, really, that I was a little bit happy for the calamity. I called Yolanda up first thing the next day, near giddy to have a secret phone number with a direct extension. For the next 3 days I called repeatedly, nothing. I fired off an email to Disney and Yolanda called me back the next day. I answered the phone and she said, "Mrs. ___, I'm calling to fix the problems you've had with your reservation and make you completely happy and satisfied" (I thought, "super, but I am so not the person you want to make that offer to."). She absolutely bent over backwards to help me and fixed everything for me! At the end of our (quite lengthy) conversation I said, "Yolanda, I feel a little bad asking this, seeing as I am no longer angry, but I figure it can't hurt to ask. Would it be possible for you to secure some fastpasses for my family for all of the headache I've been through?" She sounded less than sure that she could pull it off since there are 7 of us and evidently Disney doesn't like giving them (or anything) away for free--especially that many. She said she would look into it and call me back.

Imagine my shock when I received this email from guest communications:

"we have arranged to provide priority entrance passes for three attractions of your choice during your next visit to each of our Theme Parks".

That right there guarantees we will not be waiting in line for anything our whole stay. I am beyond pumped and (even more so) cannot wait for our trip!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A cup o' and a pretty boy?

Have you ever thought that an adult going for coffee in the morning is much akin to a baby crying for a bottle? I thought about that in my haze this morning.

I woke up and immediately wanted coffee (if it were socially acceptable, I might even cry for someone to bring me hot coffee. Alas, it isn't). I stood by the pot watching it brew then happily poured my cup and took a lovely first sip. I took a deep breath and was ready for the day to begin.

In contrast, Jack woke up and (I can only imagine decided he was simply desperate for a bottle) cried for his bottle. He lunged for the bottle as it was being filled, heated and mixed and then eagerly grabbed it and drank it all, burped and gave me a big grin.

Not so different.


Jack and I went out to lunch today (he is such a lovely lunch companion. As long as I give him a pile of food he is happy and giggly to anyone in his presence). Anyway. A woman, who incidently was a (99%) "Pat", (ironic, no?) walked up to my table and said, "she seems to be enjoying this as much as you are". I looked around to see who she was talking about, all the while wondering why she was confiding this random bit of thought process to me, then realized I was the only woman in the place. I'm sure I gave her a puzzled look as it dawned on me that she was referring to Jack, but didn't correct her as I didn't want her to feel stupid (such a kind soul I am). I mean really, he had on a red and white long-all with a helicopter appliqued on it. He had on his blue jacket, blue paci clip and blue paci. And his blue diaper bag with the name "Jack" was on the table. I've been told he is a beautiful baby, but really. I brushed it off and forgot about it, but as we were leaving she looked up and said, "you ladies have a lovely afternoon". Blood boiling. The 2 men I was sitting near looked at her like she was crazy, for which I was thankful. Urgh.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I defy gravity


I wanted a "reset" button on today by 8:02 am, and that is just never a good way to start the day.

Chris made coffee for me this morning (so awesome) so I went downstairs to the heavenly aroma of fresh coffee and excitedly poured a cup. Before I could even take a sip I heard the baby crying so I made his bottle and headed back upstairs, large cup of coffee in hand. I reached to open his door and somehow managed to drop my filled-to-the-brim mug. I reached out to grab it (how I thought I would catch all of the falling drops of liquied caffeine I am unsure of) but I managed to knock the mug in an upward motion before it returned to falling down. So, instead of just spilling all over the carpet (if I hadn't had the follow up volley) it was all over both Jack and Ryans' doors, door frames, the wall in between their rooms, the bookshelf, (and all of the books) 2 outfits a friend lent me for Jack that I had washed and ironed and were ready to return, a large stain with dozens of spot stains on the carpet and the ceiling. Not to mention, it splattered both Anna-Kate and me (requiring an outfit change for each).

Yep, I am the first person in the world to drop a cup of coffee and have it stain
the ceiling.

I sent Anna-Kate in to talk with Jack while I madly scrubbed the various surfaces. I noticed the ceiling last (can you blame me?) so it was too late to get the coffee as it had already dried. This picture is extra sad because it was taken from downstairs looking up (at night). That's how well you can see it.

Guess I'll be painting this weekend.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crazy week

Alternate title: Chris may not agree to put the kids to bed for at least a week. :)

This week has been nuts--but great!

Thursday I went out with some (mommy) girl friends from church. It was so nice to get away after the week of sick kids, long waits at the doctor (not pregnant--just puttin' that out there) and endless piles of laundry.

Friday I got all 3 kids up dressed and to school at 8:30, in the rain, (this is a big accomplishment for me) for Ryans 3 year old preschool registration. It was really weird not registering Anna-Kate, and was a feeling of "no turning back" in the school selection process, but I am at peace with that. Friday evening we had our good friends over for homemade pizza and then Leigh-Ann and I went to Costco to buy for lunch after church. (each homegroup takes 1 Sunday a semester to cook for the church and I for some reason thought it would be a good idea to be in charge of that). We actually had a lot of fun--despite the van full of nacho bar fixin's (side note, should be delicious, especially if the 40 avacados in my trunk are any indication!)

This morning Anna-Kate and I went to a birthday party for one of her sweet little friends from church. I am so thankful for the number of little girls her age at our church, but am still praying for a "best" friend for her. As usual, the topic du jour was schooling for next year. Chris and I both have a peace with the 2 options we've selected, and are choosing to trust the Lord to clearly open and close doors for us. It remains to be seen if I will be freaking out in 2 months when we know for certain what we'll be doing.

After rest time Chris and Anna-Kate attended the annual daddy/daughter Chick-fil-a date night. I'll post on that tomorrow--it was very sweet.

Tonight I went out again with some friends from Ryans old playgroup (one of whom moved away and is pregnant with her second) for a shower to welcome her coming baby. It was so fun to reconnect and chat with friends (can't wait to do it again girls, and congratulations, Sara!)!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


We had a total spring tease this past weekend. It was glorious! It was right at 70 and breezy--heaven.

Saturday Anna-Kate read her first book (on the computer)!! I was SO proud of her! She sounded out all of the words with me. What finally made her interested in trying was when I commented that one day she would have a little girl who would want her to read to her (thanks, Blair!) and that when she learned to read it would be a secret that only she would have with Mommy and Daddy and the boys wouldn't know about. Whatever, she's now excited to learn to read. :)

After the ear saga, I promised her we would go on a special date--Saturday was the day. She picked out a present for Ryans' birthday and then we ate at 5 guys burgers. YUM (and she especially enjoyed eating the peanuts while waiting and eating french fries to her hearts content--instead of me putting a few on her plate). I treasure this time with my girl!

After quiet rest time we loaded bikes and headed to a local park. It was wonderful! Jack loved the swing (which I'm really excited about because Ryan didn't care for it at all and that makes park trips infinity easier for me when the baby is happy to sit in the swing!).

Ryan can finally reach (barely, but still) the pedals on his bike.

She wasn't interested in riding her bike until she saw a little boy from her class--then they were kinda showing off for each other. Oh dear...