The blizzard draped our neighborhood with about 2 feet of soft powdery snow. The kids step in and sink right to their waists, giggling all the while. Im sure there are plenty more snow pictures to come, I have a feeling the snow will be here awhile :) Ella and Drew are loving it! Ella stayed out with Mike until she was a little ice cube. Colby has been confined to the house. He is battling a nasty cold and Im sure a romp outside will only make the little guy more uncomfortable.
And this one? Well, he decided that his snow pants hurt. Don't ask. He does spend plenty of time at the window yelling, "Ella and Drew bring me some snow to eat!!"
It seems to happen so suddenly, this growing up thing. Just yesterday he was a little cuddly blob with jerky uncoordinated movements. Then with the blink of an eye he is reaching out, grabbing and putting whatever he catches directly into his mouth.
It is a marvel, a miracle and a wonder.
One that only a parent can appreciate. Except this time. This time I get to share it with Drew, Ella and Tyler. They love that Colby touches their face. That he tries to put their fingers in their mouth. They giggle and so do I.
One of the oh so many reasons why I love being a mom.
My camera takes lots of fuzzy pictures. Im getting tired of saying it, so you must be tired of hearing it!
Anyway...I don't know if it is the fuzzy pictures, or my lack of sleep, or the general Holiday craziness, but I feel like we are all in a daze. The kids are fighting colds, hyped on sugar and sleep deprived.
So, with Christmas still 5 days away, Im slowing down this week. Taking a few moments to remember what it is really all about. Cliches and all, we will be taking the time to enjoy the season.
Baking with my girl. Seeing the wonder and splendor through their eyes. Remembering that 5-yr old tears are probably a lot better to handle than 15 yr old tears. And wondering how my littlest baby got so big. Listening to Christmas songs from tiny little voices who get the lyrics wrong in the funniest ways. Continuing traditions - like making gingerbread houses for their preschool class - and starting new ones.
We laughed when Uncle Mark tried on seaweed for hair. (and Mark, Teri and I had lots of laughs on the last night...too many if you really want to know!) We laughed when we tried to feed the fish and the seagulls attacked. Then Nonnie fed a seagull a frozen fish from her hand and we were very impressed. I laughed when Ella got a bit too friendly with the summer Santa. We laughed when Ella got really good at making sandcastles.
Everything was better in Florida. Because it was warmer, but also because we were together. Nuff said. Well, there is more to say. The things that will be remembered from this vacation will not be the rain, or the sweatshirts, or the doctor's office...but rather the laughs, the hugs, and the warmth - from the sun - but also from each other. We will all remember how the little girl in pigtails loved her Aunt to pieces. And how that Aunt loved her back by going into the waves and scouring the beach for the perfect shells. How they stayed on the beach, just the two of them, until the sun went down - all in the name of a sandcastle. How an Uncle fell in love with a new nephew and right there in the center of town made silly faces and baby talk to score a smile. How the big tattoed bear pushed the tiny stroller all over, and loved it. The biggest prize of the vacation is truly the time spent together, whatever we are doing, wherever we are.
Happy Birthday Drew! At the end of the day, when all is quiet and Im thinking about the craziness that happened during the last 12 hours...I often wish I had spent a few more minutes just talking to you. Let's face it, around here the squeaky wheel gets the oil - and you my buddy, barely make a squeak. But just beyond the quiet, well behaved, very handsome exterior is a smart, funny and all around awesome kid. You get stuff that 5 year old boys don't think about - remembering to get 3 of everything to share with Ella and Tyler, prefacing a request with "when you have a minute, mom," and wanting to do things a certain way because it is the right thing to do. I would be surprised to meet a more gentle and caring brother anywhere in the world. Even when they torture you, you still stick up for them and worry about their punishments.
You tried lots of new things this year and I watched your confidence soar through the roof. You are discovering your talents and I love to watch you just burst with pride.
You are the kind of person that people want to get to know better, the kind of person that once you get to know them - you feel privileged. It is a gift to be part of your world. Thank you, buddy.
At any given moment you could burst into tears, stomp your feet in frustration, or erupt into a deep belly laugh. Sometimes I think you are turning 15 and not 5. You have an incredible memory, a great sense of humor, and a little streak of trouble maker. You are confident and outgoing, but every once in a while it will all catch up with you and the tears can't be stopped.
I can't wait to watch you tackle life with a grin and a giggle...well, maybe I can.
This was quite a year for you Ty. You seemed to grow into a little boy overnight. Your blankie was forgotten, your crib passed on, your naps are no longer and your diapers disappeared. And you did it all on your own, my little Mr. Independent. You continue to be the epitome of contradiction. You are a little of everything all rolled into one little spitfire. You are certainly a challenge, but you make up for it and then some by making us laugh and giving the best hugs. You became a middle child this year, but no one told you that. You remain the center of attention and leave people smiling and shaking their heads in your wake. You fight with Ella half the time and the other half you are best buddies. Drew is your idol - evident by the way you follow him, copy him and look at him. We all saw a new side of you this year, my crazy man. You are the most gentle, loving, and attentive big brother to Colby. It is an amazing relationship to watch. He is so lucky to have you. I learn something new about you everyday. You are so awesome buddy, and I am so proud of you.
I sat nestled in the corner of a comfy couch with my littlest babe asleep in my arms. I watched the other 3 run around the huge indoor play space. I took a moment to soak in the peace that settles in when all 4 are happy, content, occupied. When I can once again complete my own thoughts.
And just as quickly as the moment arrived it vanished in a poof of tiny people. Suddenly the space once occupied by about 7 kids, was flooded with about 30. Balls soared over head and bounced of my legs. Screeches. Screaming. Laughing.
As if it couldn't get worse, little meatball woke up with a start, grumpy and hungry. The screaming was so unlike Colby that we both were a little shocked. I quickly covered up and ducked him under a blanket to eat. No go. The screaming intensified. I shifted. I adjusted. I changed sides. I stood up. I sat down. I tried the pacifier.
Did I mention I was surrounded by about 40 people? Shrieking? Balls bouncing? And it seemed as if everyone was staring at the freak with 4 little kids who attempts to nurse in public.
Yes, I nearly lost my mind.
And then as quick as I could I gathered my brood and ran. We ran through the rainy parking lot and sought refuge in our big comfy truck. Everyone buckled in and I turned the music on. Colby stopped screaming, looked up at me, smiled, and then ate happily until he lounged quietly like a stuffed Buddha.
It took me a moment to settle myself.
But then I remembered the lesson I learned in the first few months of parenthood.
Even the worst moments are just that...moments...and they are over as quickly as they begin.
ps. does that picture make you both afraid and laugh at the same time?! I can't even believe my most adorable baby could even look like that!
It all started when Ella was barely walking and barely talking. An attempt at calling my dad "Papa" sounded like "Caca." We all laughed. We thought it was cute and funny. Heck, we encouraged it!
About 4 years later and it is still funny and still cute. But, well, things are changing a bit. Sadly, so many things that are funny from a 1 yr old are no longer funny at 5. And other 5 yr olds think we call our beloved big guy Poop.
And well, it wouldn't be such an issue if Drew didn't talk about HIM so much. Caca this and Caca that. Aside from his own name, it was the first word Drew could write independently. Every picture at school is for Caca and now sports his name. The "Things I am Thankful For" poster in the school lobby now proudly displays "CACA" next to my boys name.
So, we have been talking for days about renaming our grandpapa. Grandpa and Papa were immediately rejected. Boss Man, Big Guy, and Poppy were similarly shunned.
Without further ado I introduce to you our newly renamed.....
We may say it a hundred times a day...Thank You. But once a year we gather together to really celebrate this whole idea of gratitude. Not just a passing "thanks" for holding the door open, but a deep sense of gratitude for the big things, the life affirming things, the ones that really matter.
Like the crisp winter air, there are a few things sneaking up on me these days, aside from the usual piles of laundry and dishes that appear each time I turn around.
It seems that Thanksgiving happened earlier this year. Last Autumn we made hand print turkeys for weeks, we have yet to make one this time around. I love Thanksgiving crafts and all the opportunities they allow to chat about gratitude, family and tradition. But somehow between Fall and Halloween we are left with only a few days to cram them all in. Luckily we have much to be thankful for all year, thus the conversations will continue.
Colby has suddenly become Mr. Awake. No longer asleep quietly in the corner for an hour or two, he is now awake for hours at a time. And demanding attention no less! I think the newborn honeymoon is almost over. Soon he will even be rolling around - gasp! Can you imagine mobility? My life will change again.
And our birthday season is approaching frighteningly fast. Three childrens birthdays that we had planned to celebrate quietly and simply. However, after attending numerous parties at fancy places with Batman, face painting, and amazing goody bags - the kids have been asking for their own parties, hourly. I am so against kids parties that cost up to hundreds of dollars for two hours. Outlandish. But their little faces when they ask and tell me who they want to invite...well, my resolve is wavering. My mind has been working over time brainstorming ideas that will cost me little to no money. And that I can accomplish between a family trip to Florida and Christmas. Simplicity is a hard concept for an almost 5 yr old to grasp...especially when discussing their own birthday.
I love 3 months. The baby is more solid, not all floppy like a newborn, and you have some sort of routine. They have more expressions. Especially smiles. Colby will smile at anyone, anytime. He has started a little giggle. And he kicks his feet like a maniac. He is my chubbiest baby to date, with little leg rolls and no neck. I love every little roll and crease. He has a grip! Once he grabs on to something he doesn't let go. Even in his sleep.
He is the true baby of the family. We all dote on him and fight for his attention. I've already become second fiddle to the excitement of his older brothers and sisters - but I don't mind. I still hold him and cuddle him like crazy.
Has anyone invented the baby freeze machine yet? I want him to stay like this just a little longer....
Sometimes it is just a little tug. A little something tucked away at the back of my mind. A little twang in the corner of my heart.
Other times it is a full fledged assault on my senses. With every breath I feel a pull, a yank, an almost tangible force willing me home. Home to my family. To the people who have known me, loved me, supported me every breath of my life. Sometimes I humor myself and think that they need me. That I need to be there to visit them, care for them, support them. But that just isn't the case.