Monday, December 9, 2013

Middle Man is 6!

 
I can't believe this little bald baby has turned into my curly haired life loving big boy. Some things haven't changed. Then - a daring 9 month old sliding head first down that slide. Now- a daring boy who slides across the ground and jumps off anything. He is still the best hugger and he stills makes us laugh everyday.
 
There has always been something about Ty. He pulls at my heart in a way that is so hard to explain. I'm so lucky to have this boy to love.
 
Happy Birthday T-Boney! Love always, Mom
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cuties

Look how they are standing in the exact same position! Ha Ha! I love my twins.

That's it :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Place

 This is Ella and the pony Cupcake...I can't possibly think of anything more adorable than a pony named Cupcake. Unless it is a little girl with braids and saggy riding pants sitting up on top of the cutest pony named Cupcake. Cuteness personified.
 I have a list of happy places that I conjure up when needed - the beach, skiing, a trail in the woods. But recently standing alongside a dusty ring with flies buzzing my ears is my happiest of happy places. Because Im watching this awesomeness. My little girl rides ponies. And she doesn't do it because I love it, she does it because she loves it. And biased as I may be, she is pretty good!
I love the look of determination on her face. I love the way she gets tough and gets big ol Cupcake to do just what Ella wants. I've seen Ella get nervous a few times while riding or working around the ponies. Her eyes get a little big as she looks over to me, I nod with an encouraging smile. She sets her jaw and tries again. She is learning that she is strong and capable. She is learning to be sensitive and caring. I hope these lessons will stick with her on the playground and in the classroom. And maybe just maybe in the show ring next summer.

My mom always drove me to horse shows in the dark mornings. Each time she reminded me, "you go in that ring with your head held high! Think of saying to the judge, look at me! Im here to win!" These words have echoed on the way to college interviews, job interviews, and countless other times when nerves have threatened to take over.  And now Im passing it on to my little girl.

And nothing makes me happier.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kindergarten

 And so it was that Tyler started Kindergarten this Fall. The pictures from the first day capture exactly how it was - exciting, happy, and fun. Unfortunately, the fun and happiness came to a screeching halt soon after the first day. Lots of tears and struggles followed over the next several weeks. We tried so many ideas to make it better. Tyler would be ok for a few days and then we would be back to square one crying at the door to the school.

After a meeting with the school, we switched Tyler from morning Kindergarten to the afternoon session. After 2 weeks, Im seeing a happier little boy. Just like the one in these pictures. Im proud of him. It isn't easy for him, but he keeps plugging away...with a smile.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blogging

There is a chill in the air. Three of the kids are in school. Colby is settled in nicely in front of the tv. I scooted here and there around the house, sorting mail and laundry. I stopped to boil water for a cup of tea. As my hands wrapped around the warm mug, my mind came here. To the blog.

I started a record of our days when the twins turned a year. And it was often during nap time, and with a cup of tea, that I came to write. I loved it. I would think about a post while driving or stirring dinner. And I loved to share pictures and document all the little things I imagined we would forget. Almost 7 years later, and 1000 posts in the archives, things have slowed almost to a stop. Naps are long gone and we rarely sit for any length of time. My afternoon tea is usually snug in a travel mug and my eyes snap shut earlier at night than Id like to admit. Writing here is often last on the list of daily to-do's.

I worry that all the little details of what they say and how we laugh will be forgotten. I worry that I won't remember who it was that didn't like swim class (Colby) or who snores at night (Ella). And I miss the ritual of sitting and reflecting and appreciating the daily moments. I remind myself that the busier days are those when I need that ritual the most.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coach Mike


 Mike has signed on as coach of Drew's Football and Hockey teams this year. It is fun to watch how he interacts with other kids, the parents and most of all Drew. Although Drew is often a guy of seldom words, he likes his Dad coaching. Mike's quiet, relaxed demeanor is a good match for the 7 year olds enthusiasm and inherent wildness :) Im sure he has plans to coach Ty at some point. And he certainly would coach Ella...she just won't let him!
I picked a good one to be the Dad of my kids. Way to go Mike! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Colby G is 3!

 Hey Colby G - you are three! But of course, you already knew that :) You hold your three fingers up so carefully and proudly to anyone who looks your way. You are not a baby, you proclaim, you are a big kid.  I hate to admit it, but I agree. You run, jump, climb, swim, and swing a hockey stick just like the big kids. You keep up just fine. Although, one of my favorite things about you is that you aren't shy to hold my hand on walks or snuggle up for a good hug. You are still the snuggliest guy around.
 At three, you love your Gunner fiercely. You are often hugging him, laying on him or giving him kisses. He waits for you at the bottom of the stairs each morning and you look for him as soon as I lift you from your crib. Yes, still a crib my big boy, but no diapers. You are balancing perfectly on the edge of baby and big boy.
You play street hockey all day with your brothers and asked for ice skates for your birthday. Im curious to see how skating goes this winter! They call you the "bird" because you flock to food, often carrying your own fork, to share whatever they are having - despite having just finished your own meal! You love your Uncles, ice cream and the playground. You run to help whoever is about to start a job - especially if it is outside.
Colbs, you make us laugh all the time. Your dance moves are epic, your funny faces adorable, and your crazy ways infectious. We all wish we could understand you better, but it adds to your charm! Tyler is your best translator, happy companion, and your worst enemy all in one. Drew is always ready to help you reach something or get a toy to work. Ella reads to you every night and sings songs as you fall asleep.
We are all smitten. Happy Birthday to the happiest most awesome 3-year old. xoxo

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I Scream

 Far Far's, Dairy Queen, Nona's, Dairy Twist, Sweet Frog, Creyo....the good ol' ice cream truck. If there is an ice cream spot we haven't tried, just wait a day and we will find it! I pretend that ice cream is what summer is all about, but really ice cream just happens to be one of my favorite things - made better only by four cute kids who are always ready to indulge with me.
 Ella prefers soft serve twist in a wafer cone with rainbow sprinkles. If the shop only serves hard ice cream she will chose cotton candy, bubble gum, or oreo (in that order :). Drew has fallen in love with Dairy Queen M&M blizzard or cotton candy in a dish with rainbow. Tyler likes a swirl in a cone or cotton candy as well. Recently he discovered Captain's favorite the Black & White Frappe. Colby is adventurous and has me read the list several times before he choses - oreo, chocolate chip, moose tracks.
For 10 minutes or hopefully longer, we sit, enjoying our ice cream and each other. Everyone happy. It's no wonder I love ice cream so much.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Twins

Its been awhile since I wrote about my twins. When they were little I thought about and talked about the fact that they are twins so often. People asked about them all the time. Their daily care was a challenge. They way they interacted was fascinating. That has faded quite a bit. 

They are never recognized as twins anymore. I am often asked how close in age my kids are and when I mention twins, people assume Ella and Tyler are the set (she is a little peanut!). I never thought I would miss the near constant "Oh, twins!" but somehow I do. Because as challenging as those baby years were...I loved them. I loved seeing two sets of toes peeking out of the stroller. I loved two little hands hanging on to fingers on either side of me. My favorite was the two highchairs pushed together. 


Last night, I laid down in Ella's bed. She talked about how her report card was better than Drew's and how she can swim better than him. She mentioned that he can ice skate better than her, but only because he practices more.


I launched into my mommy/social worker speech of how we are all different. Of how it doesn't help to compare ourselves to anyone else. Only to do our best and to be proud of ourselves. And Mommy and Daddy are so proud of her. Oh, I went on and on and on...its shocking she didn't fall asleep.

She responded, "It is different with me and Drew. Because we are the same. We are exactly the same age, and have the same family. I have to be better than him."

I don't know where her little thoughts came from or why. I do know that it is hard for anyone who knows them not to compare them. I know that she has a little competitive spirit that we are trying to harness for good, not evil :) I know that this is one of the challenges of twins.

I also know that they love each other, like brothers and sisters do, but with maybe a little extra. When she gets a little nervous (not that she will admit it) she finds comfort in being with him. When she isn't on an adventure with him, he wants to bring something back for her. They both watch each other play sports with pride and interest.

A lot has changed in 7.5 years since I first met my twins. Im still hanging on for the ride, with wonder, love, and total fascination.











Saturday, June 29, 2013

One Year

1st Day of First Grade 2012
Last Day of First Grade 2013


Monday, June 24, 2013

Schools Out!!

Im leaving in a few minutes to pick Ella and Drew up from their last day of 1st grade! Really, why does it all go by so fast? This will most likely have been there last year together in the same class. I hope the summer never ends - I won't be able to handle next years back to school!

So in the meantime, a summer bucket list::

* Mini Golf
* Ice cream Truck
* Beach, Beach, Beach
* Bonfires
* Smores
* Fire works
* NJ Boardwalk
* Bike Rides
* Ice Cream...and lots of it!
* Fair
* Pool Parties
* Night Swimming
* Pirate Adventure in Boston
* Boston Harbor Islands
* Uncle Marks Boat
* Fishing
* Tie Dye

What am I missing?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Happy Birthday!

 These pictures pretty much say it all - Happy Birthday to the best Daddy, hero, and husband anyone could ask for! You are the best! xoxo






Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ride, Sally, Ride!

 "Mom, I want to ride in a bike ride to help kids with cancer!'
"Me too!"
"Can I do it?"

There is no way to say no to that! They raised a little bit of money, they organized bike helmets and water cups and polished up their bikes. But my favorite part was the conversations that happened in the days leading up to the bike ride. We talked about what Cancer is and the people we know and love who are affected. We talked about how lucky we are that we are healthy. And we talked about how what we do can make a difference for someone else. As Drew said, "It must be so sad to see your brother be sick, I wouldn't want anyone's brother to be sick."

Sometimes I shy away from talking to the kids about the "bad" stuff in the world. I want to preserve their innocence and hope for as long as possible. And Ill still do that. But, I want to plant the seeds early that we have something to give. We will always have something to give - even if it is simply to ride our bikes in a park in honor of someone else.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Balancing


 It is quite possible that I bit off more than I can chew this week. Ever happened to you? Last night at 2 AM my eyes were squinty trying to finish a class project. And my mind was racing because what I really should be doing is studying for my licensing exam next week. Or completing the on-line course work is pressuring me about. Or making lists about the other things I happily volunteered to do, right now!

And so, I woke up grumpy. And rightly so, don't you agree? And then because children know how to time such things, my middle guy went back to bed sick, sick, sick. Just as I was beginning to panic about it all, I stopped. And laughed at myself. Because I love this. I love this busy, time crunched, doing it all balancing act. This is what I want to be doing with my life. Exactly.

No more complaining for me today.

And a heartfelt apology to my family for being a little testy this morning- extra kisses for everyone tonight!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Camping - Dargan Style

 This is a Yurt. Yes, I know - I had no idea either! My brother and his family spoke of camping in one years ago and it sounded like fun. This past winter I was looking into affordable vacation options and while investigating cabins, I stumbled upon the Yurts. Im quite certain I told Mike nothing about this as I checked "book this site" on the park's website. I was confident it would work out...sort of!
 And so it was that about 5 months later we found ourselves driving through rain to reach the Yurt. The kids were beyond excited. We jumped out of the car, ran to the Yurt and 15 min later we all looked at each other with a collective, "now what?" There was no sign of the rain letting up. Hiking, fishing and going for ice cream were quickly crossed off of the list.

We went to the movies. On our first family camping trip. Im not kidding. 

If my friends who introduced me to back country camping in Montana are reading this...I think they just "tsk, tsked" me. As we emerged from the dark, dry and warm theater we all jumped for joy at the dry skies. We rushed back to the campsite and managed to roast a few hot dogs on the fire before the rain started in again. We were cozy enough in the yurt. We had a rocking dance party, ate non-roasted marshmallows, and brushed our teeth with bottled water. We snuggled into our sleeping bags and listened to the thunderstorms all night.

We awoke on Mother's Day to more pouring rain. We hopped in the car, swung through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and we were home in time for breakfast.

The kids can't wait to "camp" again. That's a success in my book.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby

* I love the way he looks in overalls
* I love the way he plays alone and I hardly know he is there
* I love the way he hugs me and pats my back when I grab him from his crib
* I love the way he asks his brothers and sisters for help and says Thank You after
* I love the way he says "Its OK" when he wants to run across the street
* I love the way he shouts "Blah Blah" into any conversation, just to try to keep up
* I love the way he rides a scooter like a mad man and shoots slap shots that hurt my shins
* I love that no matter how old he gets, he will always be my baby

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Milestones

 The end of the school year is fast approaching, and with it lots of activities also end. There are end of the season soccer tournaments, gymnastics shows and of course preK graduations. Throw in there a little guy shedding his training wheels and another about to leave diapers behind and well...I find myself caught up in the emotional seesaw of my kids milestones.

It all started when they were infants. It is beyond exciting, ridiculous really, the charge you get when your little baby smiles for the first time or starts to sit up. And for me at least, there was also a little pang of sadness because achieving that milestone means they are growing up. The realization hits that you can never go back to swaddling, nursing, or rocking them to sleep in your arms. And just as that sucker punch of a thought knocks the wind out of you, your baby does another amazing feat for the first time and you are rocketed back to the overwhelming joy of parenthood. Seesaw, seesaw. Up, down. Up, down.

Im realizing now that those early milestones, albeit exciting and memorable, pale in comparison to what is happening now. Because now my babies are little people whose hopes, fears, and deepest wishes I know better than my own.  And now they invest in their own milestones and practice and dream about them at night. So when she finally gets on that high bar my heart is in my throat. I know she is a little scared and that she would be mortified if she messed up. And when she jumps down with a proud smile, her eyes seek out mine in the sea of excited parents and camera lenses. The seesaw picks up right where it left off. Im so proud and excited, and a little shocked that my baby is big enough to do what she just did.

If you see me around town in the next few weeks, ignore my frazzled look. My babies are growing fast and Im trying to hang on for the ride.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tough

My daughter is tough. Sure she has her sensitive moments and her dramatic moments and her silly times, too. But think twice before you mess with her, she is tough.

She has always loved to climb. She started shimmying up doorways at 4. She has mastered every rock climbing wall in playgrounds from Jersey to MA. But this weekend she outdid even herself. And I stood in awe watching my little peanut of a girl.
She spotted the rock across the field and declared, "Mom, I'm going to climb it." "Go for it!" I scoffed, never imagining it possible. She started up and made it about 5 ft before she started slipping. "Mom, Help!" I helped her down, patted her back and told it her it was just too hard.
 
"No! I'm going to do it."
Looking back now, I'm embarrassed that I tried to talk her out of it. It took her about 40 minutes. She was sweating, at times crying in frustration and fear- but always pushing herself. "I know I can do this!" she mumbled under her breath. Her nails and soccer clears scraped against the rock and I stood helplessly below her with tears of my own.
 
The crazy part is that on the other side of the rock there are several other rocks piled into a sort of staircase. So her little brother would occasionally check in on her from the top of the rock. She knew this, but refused to take the easy way.
 
I told you...she is tough.
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Heartfelt

We were there to offer support and encouragement. And although the Boston Marathon is over, we still feel the support and encouragement in our hearts as if we were roadside again.

I'm scared of the world my kids are growing up in. But when I start to worry, I remember to chose Hope and Love. I try to instill the same in them. I try to teach them to look for the awesomeness in our world and when that is threatened to respond with Strength and Hope and Love.

 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Little Bits

I'm no fool. I know that time passes quickly. So, I take pictures on holidays and video my kids each year around their birthdays. I try to take notice and be present and appreciate where we are now. But still I worry. I worry because I forget. I forget the little things - the way they said a word funny, or what foods they didn't like, or how their little body felt curled into the crook of my arm. If they have to grow up, I should at least be able to remember.

This is what I want to remember from right now...

**The way they all call him "baby." The way he mimics them, follows them, and asks for them when they are gone. The way he pushed him in the swing that windy day when I ran to the car for a sweatshirt - how they didn't know I was gone or that I had come back. I want to remember how they looked at each other and smiled.
**How spunky she is. How much she loves sweatpants and despises tights. How she thinks she is so awesome at school and soccer and pretty much everything. How her hair feels in my fingers as I braid it. I want to remember her funny dance moves and ridiculous impressions of teenagers.

**I want to remember how little hands feel curled around just 2 or 3 of my fingers. How they love to sit so close to each other, sometimes on top of each other, when there are plenty of other seats. How he calls for me each morning and insists that I pour his juice and that I buckle his car seat and how he rewards me with kisses that smack.
 And then I need to remember that we are making memories at each stage and spending too much time mourning what has already passed will only distract me from the right now.