Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scattered Thoughts


It seems my mind has still not recovered from the rush of birthday week, Christmas and the wedding. I must be getting old, because I keep telling myself that I wasn't THAT busy or had THAT much to do...but anyway. As a result, today's post is a little piece of my scattered and tired brain...

* Last night Tyler walked passed the tv as a little Chinese cartoon girl was saying "Me How!" As his brother did before him, Tyler has the gift of perfect impersonation. He has been saying "me How!" all night and day. The accent is dead on and it is quite funny!

* Ella received a little baby tiger for Christmas that responds to your touch by purring and other noises. It freaks me out. It sounds exactly like Gizmo from the gremlin movie.

* Mike came home early yesterday, surprising us all! I took the opportunity to disappear upstairs, until Mike came to find me. It seems the children had settled in at the neighbors house well past their bedtime and he needed help getting them home. I walked in to find them snuggled on the couch under large blankets with fresh baked cookies and milk - watching their favorite tv show. How do you break up that scene?!

* We are going to my parents house this afternoon. There is nothing I look forward to more.

Happy New Year! Ill be back next week to review last year's resolutions and with a list of new ones for 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh, and there was a bride too...


Mike's baby sister Melissa was married the day after Christmas in a gorgeous mansion complete with an indoor pool, balconies a plenty, and unparalleled charm.

But the real meat of the story is that my two boys wore tuxes and my girl a beautiful flower girl dress. Ella and Drew practiced just before the ceremony with all their cousins and performed their duties without a hitch. During the actual ceremony, Drew got a little cold feet and held Dad's hand down the aisle instead of going solo. My formerly shy curly haired beauty marched down the aisle, smiling like a princess and dropping her flowers ever so gently. She shined.

The rest is all about the dancing. They danced. They danced. And they danced. Tyler ran laps around the dance floor stopping occasionally to put his hands on his hips and wiggle. Ella spun and spun and spun. Drew had some crazy moves and everyone laughed. My favorite moments were when Tyler and Drew would break dance together. Where did that come from?!
They lasted until about 10, eating, dancing, and having the time of their lives.

The wedding was amazing. The food delicious. The band rockin'! An awesome wedding! Congrats Aunt Melissa!
Did you want to see pictures?! Click here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Break


I wish I bought these pants in every size.

Well, Christmas is just about here. The advent calendar is almost finished and the excitement level is SUPER high. We didn't get everything on our Christmas Time To Do List done, but we did a lot and had fun, and sometimes just making the list gives me a thrill.

We have been crafting like crazy and talking a lot about the giving part of Christmas. I think they are getting it a little bit and seem genuinely excited to make and share gifts. We donated toys to an agency that works with children in foster care and the kids have been talking about it weeks later. They were disappointed that they didn't get to meet the kids, but we did get a tour of some of the visiting rooms. Drew has even set some toys aside that he wants to give to others, on his own. I couldn't be more proud.

The next few days will be filled with more preparations. We are co-hosting Christmas Eve dinner and hosting Christmas Day. Then Aunt Melissa's wedding is the day after Christmas - can you believe it?! If you feel a little post-Christmas let down, just prepare yourself for the pics of my two boys in Tuxedos! I can't wait.

So, Happy, Merry, Joyous Christmas to you. May it be filled with Family and Love, exactly as it should be.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Nice List


Santa knows as well as I do, this kid is on the nice list.

If he does get scolded it is for being so stinkin' slow or shedding a tear instead of using his words. I sometimes take for granted that he does as I say and follows the rules. He not only makes my life that much happier, he makes it that much easier.

He is the best!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weather Outside is Frightful

But our skates are so delightful!!

Playing in the snow is fun for about 1 hour increments a few times a day.

What to do for the other 10 hours?!

How about skate around the house?!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Spectacular


It was Ella and Drew's first Christmas Show at school. They way they talked about it over the last few weeks, you would have thought they would be at Radio City! The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes and consisted of a few songs, meeting Santa and eating the cookies they made earlier in the week.

Thrilling.

Unless you are a proud parent behind a camera and your kid is singing the loudest. Ella and Drew took turns leading the group, giving us all a good laugh.

Merry Christmas! video
I always feel the need to apologize for my video. I was far away, holding Tyler and using my regular camera. But, you get the idea!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mr Cool

I've been cutting Drew's hair for over a year now. It didn't take much skill, just buzzing. I have tried to do Tyler's twice, but it involves all kinds of wrestling moves and a lot of screaming. We have a big wedding coming up next week and we thought we may need a little professional intervention. So off we went to the place down the street that charges your age on Wednesdays - what a deal!
While I had this guy in a headlock
this guy became Mr. Cool. Check out his new haircut!
And yes, there is product in there! We'll have to see if we keep it "styled!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mr. Claus


We went back to see the same Santa we saw last year. I love this guy. He showed the kids a full size album of pics of himself throughout the year. On the beach, dressed up as a pirate for Halloween. I thought it a little odd, the kids LOVED it. Ella chatted with him for about 15 min.
Tyler was so excited to see Santa and to yell "SANTA" at the top of his lungs the entire time we were there. But, he was not so excited to get close. I have a pic that the mall staff took with Tyler just off to the side.
I love to see the excitement in their faces!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Buddy Boy is 4!

Happy Birthday D-Man!
You take after your Daddy in so many ways, the biggest one for me is that it feels like an honor to know you - to be in your inner circle. Since you reserve some of your awesomeness for a select few, it makes you that much more special.

My boy, you are sensitive, in all the best ways. You cry harder than Ella when you accidently bump her off the couch. You share your most prized possessions with Tyler when he is upset. You worry that Nemo will never find his Daddy and bite your lip the entire movie. At the same time, you are a little man's man. You won't admit it when you're hurt, you tackle and push like a linebacker and you tuck your best smiles away under my favorite little smirk.

In this crazy house you find ways to do your own thing. The smaller the toy the better, much to my dismay when it is lost, but surprisingly you hold onto your treasures well. You can play behind the couch cushions all afternoon, making little boy "swoosh" noises and mumbling dialogue to some great adventure. Your always up for one of Ella's cock-a-mamie ideas and I swear she is grooming you to be the perfect husband.

My pal, you are not so quick to try new adventures, but you are getting more confident by the day. Dad and I struggle with how much to push you, but every time you respond by absoltely excelling at the task. Skating, you were terrified, but you are also excellent and 1/2 way around the rink you grew 2 inches with pride. The first day of school was rough, but every day since you march in with a smile and out with a grin. And then some days you are so brave it takes us by surprise and we wonder if we really know you at all!

You are the best, every mom should have a boy like you. I am so proud of you.
Happy Birthday Drew!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Ella Bells!

Happy Birthday my best girl!
I tuck you in at night and marvel at the long curls swirled on your pillow, the tiny fingers tucked under your chin, and the splattering of freckles across your nose. You have come a long way from the teeny little baby all swaddled up in my arms.

You seem bigger than your body, the cute little body that it is. Your smile is big, your voice is big, and your moods are big! You love to sing and dance, tell stories, and run the show. You are quick to put things were they belong and tell everyone the rules. Sometimes that little twinkle in your eye turns mischievous as you tease your brothers and insist on your way.

Most days you can be found playing with animals and dolls. Your new love is puzzles and you are so proud when you are done. At the playground you are a climbing machine and a swinging monkey.

You started swim lessons this year and I was completely blown away by your bravery. You were the teeniest one in the class, your life vest dwarfing your little body. You shook with fear and little tears rolled down you cheeks, but you climbed into the pool and into the instructors arms and turned into a mermaid. "Im a really good slimmer!" Soon you were into the deep end by yourself and having the time of your life.

In the Fall you marched off to school without a second thought. You shine in the classroom and are blossoming with the Independence it provides you. I can't believe you are the same little girl who would cling to me and hide your face wherever we went.

You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me proud, you make my heart swell. You make my world and our family awesome! We are so proud of you Ella!

Happy Birthday, my girl!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blessed


Im getting ready for the kids' birthday party this afternoon. My mom took the kids to the mall, leaving a quiet house. Decorating cupcakes, hanging a few decorations, and tidying their toys, Im struck at how lucky I am. Or is it really luck? Perhaps it is something bigger than a simple toss of a coin. I am blessed.

I have seen a lot in a few years. Woman who escaped violent marriages to save themselves and their children but were left with nothing, no one, and no place to go. Kids in Haiti who were on their own to scavenge a destitute country for food, for shelter, for a life. Families struggling to be reunited, parents who have given up, kids who sit in an institution waiting for holiday visitors who never come. I have looked in their eyes, held their hands, and wiped their tears. I have been amazed at their strength and resilience and crushed by their hopelessness.

I carry them with me today. There are so many who hold a place in my heart.

They inspire me to recognize what I have, to acknowledge my blessings for what they are - not simple luck, but a gift from God. A gift that needs to be shared, during the season and all year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Tyler T


At times it seems you arrived just last week, other times I can't remember a day without you. This past year your personality has grown much faster than the rest of you and we are all left laughing in its wake!

Feisty. Fierce. Funny. Simply put you are a mad man.

Snugly. Sweet. Silly. You are the cutest little thing around.

People say it all the time, there is just "something" about you. At 2 years old you are most definitely your own person. Not influenced by rules, social norms, or bribes - you march to your own drum. Unless of course you are doing exactly what Ella and Drew are doing. And that is you, my little monkey, a contradiction.

You absolutely adore your big brother and sister. Just being with them makes you happy. You love to hug, kiss and wrestle with them. Tyler, you are also suburb at driving them crazy. Sitting in their seats, crashing their towers and puzzles, and lets not forget pulling hair and biting! But like everyone else you meet, they can't help but love you anyway.

The words are coming fast and furious now (just like your temper). I love it when you say "I love you, mommy" as I close your door at night. And when asked your name you growl "Tyyy-lerrr!" A crowd pleaser every time!

You make our house and our family louder, crazier, and infinitely more fun. I am so proud of you. I love you buddy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ice Time


Can you feel the excitement?

So, trying new things is pretty fun to talk about, but doing them is a little tricky for the folks around these parts. There was a lot of talk about "you wait by the window and wave to me while I skate by myself, ok mom?" before we went skating. Once we were actually getting in the car the talk turned to "I don't like ice skating! I want to go home!"
Through almost four years of these nervous nellies, Mike and I know to just push on with the plan and act like we are so excited - despite our internal dialogue of "what are we getting ourselves and them into?!"

But like everything else we do, they loved it! "Can you believe how fast I was?!"

They have asked me everyday since if we can go ice skating again.

Ahh, the sweet taste of accomplishment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Farm Fun


There is something about a farm that is just so fun. We love this one for it's animals, as well as it's fresh donuts inside their market! A nice woman gave the kids some carrot tops to feed the bunnies. They said we were the only ones to stop and feed the animals on this cold cloudy day. You can imagine the animals were very happy to see us, only making the experience more exciting.

Drew insisted on wearing his Santa hat as well as Reindeer antlers all week, bringing his Christmas cheer to the farm, grocery store, and library. Of course Tyler had to join in, the fire hat was a good choice - don't ya think? And yes, I have totally become that lady that lets her kids wear crazy stuff everywhere!

Tyler was especially excited by the bunnies. My stinking camera ran out of batteries before I could catch him saying, "Bunnies! Fun!!" But I got a giggle out of this little clip as it is.
video

Monday, December 7, 2009

Adventure Club: Elf Houses


I love their expressions in this picture!
The Wednesday Adventure Club hit the woods again last week. The adventure task: making Elf Houses for Santa's Elves. They need a place to rest on Christmas Eve, we even set them up with acorn cap cups to sip their hot cocoa. I'll admit, I was a little more enthused about the building then the kids - but, we were outside and having fun. That's all that counts, right?!

My friends are teasing me about Drew's hat. Do you like his pigtails?!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Love


Can you just feel the love in this photo?!

We have lots of Christmas things on tap for this weekend. Im hoping the weather cooperates, at least enough for us to get a tree. Ella and Drew are so excited about everything Christmas this year - making the season even more magical and fun.

Ahh, I love it!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Puzzle Proud


When was the last time you were so proud of one of your accomplishments? I mean really proud, Puzzle Proud?

Ella and Drew have been working on puzzles several times a day. Sometimes with teamwork, sometimes going solo, but always so proud. They ask me to leave the room and then call me back when they are done, yelling "surprise!!" Their faces beam and they look a little taller. They are so proud. Puzzle proud.

I guess as we get older we shy away from challenges, or don't encounter them so much, or maybe we just don't stop to recognize our own little victories. Did you make a tasty dinner last night? Did you get all the beds made? Did you stop and take a moment to care for someone else? Im sure there are more moments where we can accept a challenge only to be rewarded with Puzzle Pride.

It just feels so good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis Christmas Time!

photo from last year


If you know me at all, you know I love lists.

Love them. I do.

We made an advent calendar and the countdown has officially begun. Here is what Id love to share with my family this season:

Go Ice Skating
Make Christmas Cookies for friends
Hang Mistletoe and kiss under it
Make a new Christmas Music Mix (yes, I said mix)
Watch the Nutcracker - I wish in a theater all dressed up, but probably on DVD for free
Make Homemade marshmallows for our hot chocolate
Display our christmas cards and talk about all the people who love us (you better send us one!)
Donate. Donate. Donate.
Make a Gingerbread house and train
Make popcorn garland - maybe cranberries too
Drive around to see lights (already done this!)
Go to a tree lighting
Eat by candlelight
Spend a day in NYC soaking up all the city holiday goodness
See the lights at the zoo
Visit Santa
Write letters to Santa
Read the Night Before Christmas
Make a whole basket of Christmas Books and rotate weekly from the library
Make ornaments for ourselves and others
Look at our photo books from years past
Make paper chains
Christmas craft with wild abandon
Have some peaceful, quiet time with just us

Do you think I...we..can do it? Even if we don't, we'll have fun trying!

Where I got some ideas

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

9 to 5


Getting to work at Nonnies.

We have trained them well.

That big guy in the chair? Not trained quite as well, but he is good for snuggling in front of the tube.

Monday, November 30, 2009

THANKSgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Relaxed, warm, and everything a Thanksgiving should be.

Thanksgiving always reminds me of my Grandpa Sid. He was larger than life in so many ways, but on Thanksgiving he was even bigger. I can see him now poised over the turkey, sweat beaded on his brow, and an enormous knife pointed at whoever he was speaking to. One thing for sure, Grandpa Sid was passionate about his turkey. And rightly so, it was exceptional.

I want to take a lesson from my Grandpa this holiday season. Instead of taking for granted, I want to be passionate about the blessings I have - from simple great food to my amazing family and friends.

Happy Holidays Grandpa Sid!



ps. this photo is of my Uncle Jimmy doing his best impression of his dad, my Grandpa Sid. I know that a photo of Grandpa Sid carving his turkey is out there somewhere - Ill find it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In their Words...

The poster board on the door to the preschool classroom read:

What I am Thankful for:
Danny: Goldfish

Declan: my police car

Briel: Princesses

Matthew: Thomas the Train

Alyssa: My mommy

Ella: Nonnie

Drew: Nonnie and Caca

I may have let a tear slip...


Friday, November 20, 2009

More Thanks


Im Thankful that my arms and my life are this full of love and joy.

ps. Ill be taking a break next week as we travel home to be with family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful


Having pre-schoolers makes almost everything more fun, but especially holidays. They are so excited to celebrate. What a great lesson -shouldn't we all be?!

So, we have been talking lots about Thanksgiving and what it is all about. Im appreciating a holiday that has such a simple explanation. A message that I try to live and teach every day....be thankful.

This year we are so thankful for our neighbors. On either side we have wonderful families who are so caring, so open, and so loving towards our family, especially our kids. Our 9 year old neighbor would rather play with us then play football! He has taken residence in the third row of our car and is a welcome edition on our field trips.

I love that we are a little community. Passing around new recipes, sharing dinners, and always ready for an afternoon chat. It has made my days as a stay at home mom a little more sane and a little more fun. The kids are in heaven. One family even has a snack basket just for Ella, Drew and Tyler. Our neighbors make them feel loved. They feel special. Is there a better gift?

And for that we are so Thankful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost


How do you know he is almost 2?

He refuses to sit in the high chair.

His most used expression is "No, Momma!"

He thinks he can do anything and everything - climb a chain link fence - no problem!!

He is the funniest little thing on 2 legs.

I love 2.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Girl.....


I had the pleasure of spending that morning just me and my little girl. Much like the air that day, it was spectacular. Actually better than that. Our special time together started out at Daddy's favorite bagel place. Ella's New Jersey roots come out when some fried taylor ham is served. But mainly she was excited to pick out her own juice from the refrigerator. She drank a bit while we ate and saved some for later. "Dad -- I think I need a sip of juice now, can I? " She said periodically throughout the morning. I replied with my usual "Of course you can". One of the things I love is when I ask her a question and she replies to me…."Dad, of course you can!"

Then we went to one of our favorite parks. Ella loves to be the leader and she likes to talk (hhmm….does this sound like someone else we know?? hahaha). So she led me around the park, around the big pond, she told me about the ducks and the moss on the trees. She told me stories of her playing in this particular park. She jumped off the benches, swung on the swings, and we played lots of hide n go seek….one of her favorites. She seemed so happy which is basically all I need.

As always when we separate….we both looked forward to meeting back up with Mommy and the boys. We got home first. Ella quickly ran to the kitchen to hide her apple juice in the back of the refrigerator so that Drew and Ty would not drink it on her. Then we sat on the porch and waited……

-Dad

My Boys


We borrowed a car this weekend and as a result had an opportunity to split up the kids. I know my kids better than I know myself sometimes, but when I spend time with one or even two at a time, I experience them in such different ways. This is true especially when Ella and Drew go their separate ways. They have a chance to tell their own stories, finish sentences, and pick just what they want to do.
I had the boys on Sunday morning and they wanted to do something with trains. So, we rode the train at the zoo, bought train whistles, and then went to a train museum and climbed inside a real caboose. They were in heaven and so was I.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seriously

Ella spent Sunday afternoon at a little girls birthday party...AT A NAIL SALON!! She was so excited and loved every single minute of it. I've never described her as a girlie girl - passing up dress up clothes and dance class. You would never know it if you saw her at the salon!

Im still slightly shocked. Isn't she my baby? How can she have polish on her nails, never mind applied by a professional!

Ella is smitten. She is in absolute love with her own fingernails.


This is her standard position for showing them off. And she does so as often as possible.

A nail salon...seriously!!