Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections

It is no secret that I love me a little self reflection...and an end of the year reflection? Well, it will keep me happily ruminating for weeks! There is certainly plenty to reflect on this year, seeing since just about halfway through 2011 we made the big move. A move that was so risky, so nerve racking, so exciting that we will surely feel the repercussions for many years to come. We still feel like we are in the very beginnings of our plan. Anxious to see it grow and still sometimes wondering if we should have just stayed where we were.

I think whenever I look back on 2011 the overwhelming feeling will be of pride. I am so proud of us for taking charge of our life. Proud that we were willing to take risks to achieve our goals. Im proud of my husband for throwing himself into a new career. Proud of my kids for easily joining new neighborhood crews and walking into new schools with smiles. Proud of my parents for welcoming us, loving us, and making this craziness as fun and as easy as possible.

Of course looking back eventually turns into looking forward. Accomplishments to be built upon, weaknesses to be corrected. I have some resolutions ready to be finalized. The only thing I like more than reflecting is goal setting!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Memories

Christmas 2011 was the year::

* I didn't bake a thing! 

* a pony peeked out of a convertible and Star Wars invaded our gift pile 

* we lost Tyler and experienced the panic every parent dreads

* singing in the garage was the perfect ending to a great xmas eve

* we caroled at the neighbors home and walked down a lane of luminaries

* we rushed and relaxed, rushed and relaxed

* my favorite baby plaid Christmas pants made their last showing 

* so many things remained un-checked on the to-do list...a lesson in how doing less can be best

* so many moments to savor with kids the perfect ages for the magic of Christmas 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Drew Boy is 6!

Hey Buddy Boy!
You are the absolute sweetest boy. I've known it since you were a baby. No matter what the whacky twin sister did to you, you were only sweet to her. Nothing has changed - you are still sweet. It is funny how the world works, buddy. Some people think that the rougher the boy, the better. That boys should be rough and tumble, getting into messes and trouble. And sometimes they do, and sometimes you do. But a sweet boy - a gentle, caring, thoughtful boy - well, he is just amazing. Sometimes when I see you being you, I smile because I can imagine the husband and father you may someday be - your family will be so lucky.

6 is going to be a good year for you pal. You are coming into your own. People used to call you shy and quiet - but I haven't heard that in a while! You marched onto the soccer field, into Kindergarten, and wobbled out with your ice skates like a soldier...a happy soldier. You have made friends at school, and jump into neighborhood games. You are Mr. Confident these days, and I like it :)

It is hard to talk about you without mentioning the Captain. You guys have something special Drew, you always have. Now that we moved you guys have become even closer. I like watching you with my dad, loving, curious, confident and most of all, happy

Happy Birthday to the best boy - you make me so proud! 
Love Mom

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

To My 6 yr old Girl

 Dear Ella,
It is hard to believe the teeny tiniest of my babies is now 6 years old, sometimes it is hard to believe you are mine at all. It doesn't seem possible that one momma can be this lucky and blessed.

You captivate me. There isn't a day that goes by that Im not taken back by how smart you are, how funny and/or how much of the world you are taking in. You don't miss a beat! You notice what people are wearing and remember what they say. You are the life of the party, but can quickly slip into the woodwork when you want to listen to an adult conversation :) You ask questions that seem a little too deep for a little girl with pigtails and freckles.

You are brave and adventurous, especially when we are outside. That tiny body of yours flits across beaches, glides through the pool, climbs into branches, and races into the woods. You are quick to make friends and I love the way you think of ways to surprise them - with pictures, treats, or special games. You soak up everything you can about big kids and cousins - studying them intently with those blue, blue eyes.

Watching you grow up every day is quite the show, and as always Im so happy to have the front row seat.

Love you always my Bella Boo -
Mom

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ty Turns Four

My Dear Tyler T -
I planned to have another baby when the twins started school - you came days before they turned 2. I planned for you on December 17th - you arrived on the 10th. I planned on no epidural - I couldn't get it fast enough. I planned on another baby who was quiet and easy like the 2 before him - you made it clear from day 1 that you had other plans. You see, my T-Boney, you were nothing like I had planned.

And Im so glad and I wouldn't want you any other way!

I love that you march to your own drum. As a mom, I have to attempt to hammer in some manners and rules, but Im trying to do it while preserving your spirit. You are passionate - when you are up, you are sky high happy, when you are down - watch out! You are figuring out your place in the world - tough for a guy sandwiched between twins paving the way and an adorable baby bringing up the rear. But if there is one thing you can do, it is hold your own!

Tyler T, this was an awesome year for you. You have become so independent, adventurous, and even more amazing. Im proud of you everyday.

Happy Birthday my sweet, crazy boy! Love always, your Momma

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tea Time

Picture is totally unrelated to blog...I just like it :)

Tis tea season again. The time of year when a hot cup of tea cradled in my hands brings me a few minutes of comfort and hopefully quiet! 
Here is a list of things I can do while waiting for the kettle to whistle....

*Check on sleeping babies kids and marvel for a minute
*Finish the box of chocolates and hide the evidence
*Pick up a random assortment of items from the floor - why were they playing with a comb?! 
*Wash a sink full of dishes
*Switch the laundry
*Get them started on a project that hopefully lasts as long as my cup of tea
*Stare absentmindedly out the window

It is amazing how taking a few minutes to settle down can recharge me for another round! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Settle Down

Sometimes I need to take a minute to settle down. Hunker down on the couch with a cup of tea. Or better yet - hit the road and get outside with my kids. The days are zooming by as they always do this time of year. And this year more than ever Im longing to just settle it down for a minute.

I miss my kids more than I ever have. I knew that I would once they started school - but with moving and me working, I miss them more than I expected. When we are all home it is tough to get in a good conversation. But when we are out...oh, I could listen to them talk all day.

I already feel a New Year's Resolution coming...it is brewing away. But in the meantime, Ill take what I can get. Ill remember to take a minute each day to just simmer down. And an extra minute each day to snuggle them tight.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let's Celebrate!

There are some big happenings for these three coming up in the next 20 days. They have birthdays, visits back to NJ, parties, more birthdays, more visits to NJ, more parties and of course Christmas! It is just about all they can handle. We have a countdown calendar to keep track of it all, yet Tyler still asks me several times a day if it is Birthday or Christmas today.

Kids make celebrations and holidays that much better. They are so excited...about everything! I have to keep reminding myself to keep it simple, because their excitement tempts me to do more. But at this age their expectations are so low and I can spend more time enjoying them enjoying the season than rushing around filling it up.

Let's party!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tree Hunt

We went to the Christmas Tree Farm and picked out our tree (well, sort of....see below). And we laughed...oh my goodness did we laugh. But then again we always do when we are all together. 
click on this picture to see the guys faces, so funny!!

When we got home everyone got right to work. My father, mother and Mike rearranged furniture, got the stand in place and lugged in the tree. I scooted into the kitchen and got dinner ready. I peered in from time to time to see the action, check on the kids, and marvel on the scene. As I cooked, stirred and listened, I realized there was a lesson today.

My mother is big into Christmas. And the tree is her thing. We went out 3 times together and then she went once herself to pick the perfect Concolor tree (has to be concolor!). Then she brought us all down to the farm so that we could feel part of the process. And this is when the lesson began. After to close to 40 years of picking out Christmas Trees together, my father knows the drill. He knows that he will have very little say no say in the tree she chooses, but he goes along with the scripted scene. He doesn't complain...on the contrary he slips in little jokes that keep us all laughing. When we get home he starts the delegating and directing - it is what he is good at! My mother, perched on ladders or buried under the tree listens and follows his orders without with very little complaint.

That my friends is how successful marriages work :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two Stories

Two True Stories about Tyler T. 

1. We all went to Plimouth Plantation the day after Thanksgiving - how appropriate of us, don't you think? While in one of the teeny tiny Pilgrim houses, a woman in character was explaining how they cooked as she sat next to the fire. Tyler standing a mere foot from her, looking right in her eye, said "Boring!!" as loud as he could, turned on his heel and walked out. 

2. I sat across from Tyler's 2 preschool teachers in a standard, too serious for preschool, conference. I listened patiently as they went on and on about how Tyler is polite, respectful and quiet. How he raises his hand, follows the rules of the classroom, shares and cleans up better than the other students. I resisted the urge to ask if they were sure they were talking about my son. When I returned home I congratulated Tyler and repeated what the teachers had said. Drew piped up, "Well, why doesn't he act like that at home?!" 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Baby

 No matter how big he gets, he will always be my baby - whether he likes it or not.  He knows when Im getting ready to leave. He clings on to me, or runs to get his shoes. I have left him more than I have left any of my other babies.
Momma guilt is tough. 
 But, despite my neglecting him :) He is happy! He is a smiling, dancing, laughing baby. He makes our days better as he has since the day he was born. 
Tonight will be the second night in a row that someone other than me puts him to sleep. Although it breaks my heart, I know that my mother, father, and his awesome daddy around him can only make him happier. 
So I guess I can live with that guilt.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks

We have been talking about being thankful a lot lately. Of course it is the season, but I think there are other reasons too. I feel lucky that my kids aren't asking for a whole lot. In fact, they haven't even asked for their toys that are in storage. They have been content with what they have.

As I wrote that, I realized they are teaching me again. I was going to write a post about how I have been trying to teach them to be more thankful. About not worrying who has more or about what they don't have...but to be mindful of what they do have. Of course there are minor skirmishes about who has more candy or who gets to play with the big box, but on a whole they are satisfied, content, happy with what they have.

And I suppose that is the real lesson. One that I need to practice a bit more. There will always be things I don't have...and the list would be far too easy to write. But that would get me nowhere but wanting, unsatisfied, and frustrated. Instead I will look to my kids for inspiration in appreciating and making the best of what I do have. A leftover moving box? Limitless opportunity! Couch pillows? They can be rafts, cars, rocks to cross the river!

No home of my own? How about living with 2 people who adore your children, fold your laundry & make you dinner?!!

Of course like all challenging lessons, this is more easily said than done...but Ill keep practicing.

In so many ways - for their love, their laughter, their lessons - I am so very Thankful for my children.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hero

Our friend is heading into the hospital today. He is giving his bone marrow to his brother. To save his brothers life. With a sibling having a less than 25% chance of being a viable match...he is a perfect match. 

We have always known he is a special kid. But now we think of him as a hero. As a brave, life changing, life saving hero

Good luck our friend! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snapshots

 Happiness is contagious...
 Smiles are infectious...
 Kids are the best medicine! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inspire

Who inspires you? 

It is easy to imagine how you might react or handle a situation that you have never lived through. You picture yourself strong facing adversity like a prize fighter. Or maybe you imagine yourself curled in the fetal position under a blanket hiding from the world. 

Hopefully you'll never know. 

This year I have looked at the faces of people I love who found out. They lived lessons that challenged every fiber in their body. They stood up, they held it together, they carried on. 

I was inspired and I still am. 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Wah Wah

Today was one of those days. 
The bookstore didn't have the train table that I promised. And I wouldn't buy the book he whined and cried for. (Im mean like that)
My Venti Green Tea Unsweetened (that I shouldn't be buying) spilled after my 4th sip. 
I missed the bus and my neighbor had to claim my children (again). 
No one liked lunch. 
The playground wasn't fun. 
The hike was too muddy. 
The glass on the beach was too sharp & I wouldn't let them collect it. 
The baby fell and has a huge bump on his forehead, just in time to meet the new pediatrician tomorrow. 
No one liked dinner. 

And those are the least of our worries. 

So what to do? 

The only thing I know how to do. Plan for a better day tomorrow and try to remember what I loved about today. 

I'd tell you, but the list would be too long....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back Road

Makes me want to take a back road, 
Makes me want to take the long way home.
Throw a little gravel in my travels, 
Makes me want to take the back roads...

Im a little embarrassed to admit, I've been listening to Country Music stations. Some songs I just can't take...but others are resonating with me in ways that Katy Perry and Lady Gaga just don't. This Back Road song is a perfect soundtrack as we wind our way through the roads painted perfectly with Fall New England splendor.  I do want to take the back roads, and not just for the foliage, but because Im rediscovering parts of my childhood that were long forgotten. The Y where we took swimming lessons, the tree farm where we trudged through fields to find the perfect tree, the house on the old road with plenty of pastures, a huge barn and the perfect tire swing - my dream home since as long as I can remember. 

There are songs about fishing with your daughter, reigniting your relationship, and planning your next 30 years that really get me thinking while Im driving. (and I only sometimes think about the singing cowboys with deep voices and tight jeans) They get me thinking about appreciating what I have and being thankful for my blessings. I think about how fast my kids are growing and how I need to slow down and soak them in. There are songs about being at the beach that I adore because they take me right to my happy place. What I haven't found in country music is too many songs that hold anger or have underlying messages and lyrics that my kids really shouldn't be exposed to -like we hear on other stations. 

Embarrassment aside....I may be becoming a Country Girl...at least on the back roads. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hiking Part II

Im telling you, this hike was so great Im still reliving it ;) 
 Colby's 1st time in the back & it went well. He only pulled my hair and grabbed my earrings about 100 times. And I pretended I was in better shape than I am.  I also like this picture because my kids are getting better at taking pictures - our heads aren't cut off and it is in focus!! 
 What happens when I say, "strike a pose!" 
 They make me believe that every boy should have a brother. They are getting closer by the day. 
Determination. 
That's my girl. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wait Up

 As soon as we hit a trail, she's off. She scampers ahead racing down paths and climbing up rocks. I find myself yelling,
 "Wait up, Ella! Wait up!!"
She has become Ms. Independent, you see, with a fierce streak of competitiveness. It seems all traces of the shy baby who clung to me wherever we went has disappeared. 
And she isn't just racing ahead on the trails. She is in a big rush to grow up. My baby girl is infatuated with older kids, studying their moves, their expressions, and their tastes like an eager understudy. She mimics them all too well...
"Mom, I was like so scared."
 Her little attitude is more 13 year old than 5 year old and it is tough to take. If I hear 
"No, I wasn't!"
 one more time...
 Luckily she is still only 5. And with me all the time. We have cute little conversations and read animal stories at night. I still pick out her clothes and braid her hair. But I see what's coming and I have an idea of where we are heading. 
"Wait up, Ella!! Wait up!" 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Need

Sometimes I need them all to myself.  
I had the car packed when I picked them up from school - my tires may have squeeled as I pulled out of the parking lot. We pulled up to the bottom of the trail and chose a route going straight to the top. In three steps I knew this was exactly what I needed. I took over a hundred photos, because I knew that my own eyes and memory wouldn't do this day justice. And that a few pictures flipped through in the coming months and years could bring me right back.

Her braids.
The pine needle carpet.
His sticky fingers on my neck. 
The bubbly brook so cold on our fingers.
The way he warned me about the slippery rocks.
The yellows, oranges, and occasional reds. 
 How he sticks close to chat about school. 

When the days get crazy and filled up, I need to remember to steal my kids away. 
Sometimes all I need is them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Adventures


Photobucket

Photobucket
We went adventuring a few weeks ago. An old friend invited us to one of their favorite places and it very quickly became one of our new favorites. The Heritage Museum is huge consisting of beautifully manicured grounds, art installations, a carousel, antique cars....and so much more that we haven't explored yet

We spent most of our time in the Hidden Hollow, why wouldn't we? Designed as a family exploration center we found larger than life instruments, an enormous tree house, a working well with sinks and buckets, a craft center, sand box, puppet theaters, dress up....and more! 

Stay tuned for more from the Heritage Museum...we will be adventuring there often!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Recap

 We love Halloween around here! Our family Halloween Motto is that it isn't a good Halloween unless you wear your costume at least 3 times :) We trick-or-treated at Stone Zoo, there were school parades, Parties at Nana Ruth's Residence, and of course Halloween itself. So, a good Halloween it was.
 Two T-Rex dinosaurs, a mommy Dragon and of course the baby Dragon. They were a good choice this year because I could stuff them all with extra warm layers! Colby was the star of course :) He figured out real quick how to walk up for candy give a little "ah, ah" grab the candy and put it in his bucket. No watching from the stroller for him!

There are always the pictures I don't take. Like my mother as a witch in full face make-up with fake teeth hiding in the bushes to terrorize the neighborhood! Like my dad hiding behind a dumpster on a long dark driveway to do the same (are you sensing a theme here?). Like Drew yelling "Trick or Treat for Unicef!" at every door and collecting loot for "children in other countries."
Today we will drop our candy off to add to packages being sent to troops. Because shouldn't everyone enjoy Halloween?!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This Moment:: Happy Halloween!!

just a sneak peak...more pictures on Monday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

T-Boney

I call him T-Boney most of the time now. Apparently naming Colby with the "y" ending didn't satisfy my need for a cutesy ending. Although "Tyler" or more aptly "TYLER!!!!" may be the word I say shout most during the day.

It makes me a little sad, this bad rap that Ty has. But man, does he earn it sometimes. He has been harassing Colby for 3 straight days. Doing whatever he can to make Colby cry, scream, and freak out. I have to admit it is a little funny. Sometimes all Ty does is walk up and look at Colby's face - and BAM - instant screams!

The good news is that as fresh as he is, he is more cute and funny than anything else. At lunch the other day he was staring at my mother eating clams. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, I don't like the clams beechies" (our word for penis, and he was talking about the necks). And he can hug like no one else in this world.

There. Just a little note about my T-Boney.

ps. The hat was in the boys department, but every time I look at it, I think it is for a girl.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boo!!!

Last night we BOOed the neighbors. It was the most fun I've had in a long time (go ahead, make jokes about my social life...).

Do you know about "booing?"

It is basically Ding-Dong-Ditch, but you leave a cute little Halloween surprise for your neighbors. We put on our hoods and hats and snuck up the neighbors driveway. The kids were so cute, careful and quiet. Then we put our Boo note, a little bucket of treats and a smattering of plastic spiders (oohh, spooky!) on their doorstep. The kids got ready to run and I banged that door knocker as loud as I could. We took off for the bushes!

I could see the adrenaline on my kids faces and the little rush of excitement was so fun.

Im thinking of new spins we could do all year...like maybe "elfing" or "leprechauning" or maybe Ill just start Ding-Dong-Ditching the neighbors for no good reason at all :)

ps. this sets a record for the post with the most non-words ever