Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stella turns 4

It's birthday month for my love bug.  My silly and sassy and always singing 4 year old.  This year she fell in love with her birthday. It's so great how 4 year olds love to be celebrated. She's also been super into bedtime prayers so mixed with birthday excitement, bedtime has been extra enjoyable.

Its adorable to me anyway when little kids pray and always a tiny bit funny. It's also been the theme of Stella's life to maximize everything awesome so why should her love for the Lord be any different? Some nights she thanks God for every thing in sight including her lamp, her smoke detector, her bed frame, and every polka dot on her polka dot wall.  Other nights she begs God to put a baby sister named Elsa in my tummy. One of my favorites so far has been when she thanked/explained every month of the year in prayer form. She apologized for the length of her prayer that night but I assured her God loves hearing every word.  As do I.  She's so full out.

As we know, kids are sponges and it would be super sweet if Stella only learned spiritual things but we still live on planet earth. And we also listen to 94.1 jams. Stella REALLY loves Kelly Clarkson and specifically the heart beat song.  It seems harmless to me that she knows all the lyrics.  Annoying when she cries for it to come on the radio...but harmless.  However, she did raise a few eyebrows when she shouted loudly at a baseball game "IF I GO TO JAIL TONIGHT! PROMISE YOU'LL PAY MY BAIL!"

Rethink the radio station in the car? Nah. We're gunna shake it off and light it up up up like its dynamite!

This year Stella's main goal was to have as many people as possibly be aware that she turned 4 on May 6th. We had a few friends over that day because Stella wanted to plant flowers. A girl after my own heart.

Let the 'friend party' craze begin.  In a few short years I'll be hosting a sleepover with a zillion giggly girls that have no plans to sleep.  Her sidekick, Austin, probably won't be invited to the sleepover down the road especially after I over heard her telling him that "they can't be married because they don't have very many dollars."  Until then, boys are still buddies.

**Bedtime May 6th, 2015**

"Lord Jesus thank you for my birthday. Thank you for my mom and dad and Sammy and Holly. Thank you for all my Sophia the First characters too. In the morning can you please help me find Amber because I checked the back of the box and she IS on there but I can't find her. I hope she's okay and just taking a really good nap like I'm about to. Lord Jesus. Amen." -Stella

I love being this chick's mom.  She acts like a teenager but she's just a baby. :)

Stella Rose, Happy birthday!  I love you so much silly girl.  I can't wait to watch these videos with you someday when you are much older...

Stella turns 3

Stella turns 2

Stella turns 1

Monday, March 16, 2015

My Teenager

I've spent lots of time preparing myself to parent a teenager. Years probably. I've wished it away and tried to buy myself more time. Yet the inevitable has arrived and Sammy ended his era of boyhood.  I miss him already but I'm determined to do these teen years right.  I feel the pressure of the next 5 years weighing on my shoulders.  I think I'm loosening my grip but trying with all my might to steer him towards anything and all things pure.  He's such a great kid and I just love being his mom.  I also did not want the last 12 years to go down without a bang so we celebrated all weekend long. We hard core celebrated the heck out of this kid.

His actual day was Thursday, the 12th.  Gage and I took him out to dinner free from his sisters per his request.  We hashed over past birthday memories, ate wings, watched basketball and topped the night off with a trip to the ER.

I'm sorry what?

I'm giving you the SUPER short version because this story is actually not cool at all.  After a week of chest pain and me telling him to shake it off, the pain increased at dinner.  I told him to try eating less wings and drink water.  Clear A+ mothering skills.  On the way home he (cried) begged us to take him to the doctor because it hurt to breathe.  Still not taking him serious, I called the nurses line and told them his symptoms.  They instructed us to go to the ER.  COME ON!!!  With the .00000000001% chance that it WAS indeed an issue with his heart, we didn't take any chances.  We waited for 5 hours in the Emergency Room where there were no empty seats and no real emergencies.

Sammy started to feel better as the hours passed and I just wanted to get the heck outta there.  We declined the XRAY and EKG and the doc didn't seemed too phased by it.  I made sure to get the clock in the next few pics.  Purely for entertainment down the road.

1:00am.  My 13 year old


Turns out the kid has a virus causing inflammation in his ribs.  And it hurts.  Awesome.

I let him sleep in the next day which turned out swimmingly because we had a surprise party planned for him that night.  Props to his super fun group of friends for helping me pull off a blast of a surprise. The boys walked to our house after school and we set up shop to knock Sammy's socks off.   Sam had a shopping date with my mom while the boys came up with a plan to hide and "scare" him. The scoped out hiding places in the basement before I got the text to hide ya kids, hide ya wife because he's almost home.  I genuinely think we surprised him which is a near possible feat.  If he was onto us last week, he lied and humored me anyway.  Between you and me, he had tears in his eyes.  I'm calling it a win.

That's a $13 scarf

The boys played basketball for hours and one serious game of "team death match" which is basically a teenage boy name for hide-and-seek.  Let the record show that I love my daughters very much but there is no comparrison to how easy boys are.  After team death match was complete with no casualties, they held what appeared to be wrestling practice in my basement.  Headgears and all. Boys truely live in their own little world.  They were all sleeping by midnight.  Boy sleepovers are a cakewalk compared to what happened here in September.


You adorable boys can come back anytime!

Saturday my family surprised him with the custom longboard he's been wanting. Along with all things needed to keep him alive while on it. I was pretty proud of this surprise too considering Stella almost blew it like 4 times.  I think he was actually speechless.  He stared at the large box for a minute trying to take it in and drown out Gage telling him it's his very own EKG machine.

Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice shame on me.

This boy brings me so much joy.  I love everything about him.  Even though I'm shaking in my boots about raising a teenager, he makes being a mom easy.  Most of the time.  I miss him letting me take his picture when he's actually looking at the camera but when no one's around, he still hugs me like he did when he was a toddler.

I love you, #9

Sammy turns 12

Sammy turns 11

Sammy turns 10

Monday, February 2, 2015

Selfies and Specs

I've been taken down some unexpected turns since the new year began.  Turns that make me laugh a little because
1. My life is often laughable and
2. God knows when I need to slow down and focus solely on my family.

Holly is a worrier. It's bad. So when she cries every night about having a headache and sometimes comes off the bus in tears for the same reason, I tell her it's totally normal. I've gotten used to telling her things are normal. Ebola? Totally normal. Plane crashes? Not likely but normal. I made her carry a water bottle around with her and told her to try and spend like HALF of her usual time doing handstands and walkovers. Nothing helped.  The headaches were stubborn and her tears were becoming more and more believable.  Despite her constant worry, she's always had a freaky high tolerance for pain.

After two solid weeks, I pulled myself out of denial and took her to the eye doctor. It's a funny thing how kids are a genetic blend of their parents. Holly looks like I spit her right out of my mouth so I ignorantly assumed she would float through life 20/20 like her mama.  I guess it would have been a tiny miracle if all my kids were completely unscathed by their nearly blind father's eyesight.

When I first mentioned taking her to the eye doctor, she cried. I'm pretty sure it was just the initial
I KNEW THIS WASN'T NORMAL because tears quickly turned to smiles when she pictured herself in glasses. The doc told her she only needs to wear the glasses when she's inside which is pretty much always. That part shocked me a little. I was expecting a pair of reading glasses or a "don't worry she'll grow out of it." At times like this I'm thankful for the innocence of a child. Now I'm the one freaking out as her futures flashes before my eyes and I see her being the girl asking if she can go fix her contacts at dance.

This is totally normal, Missy.  Like a bazillion kids wear glasses.

As usual, Holly made me laugh hysterically with her witty comments while she tried on different styles.  I about died at the cuteness of her face.  She told me she wouldn't even try on the "expensive" ones but quickly realized that was impossible.  I appreciate the effort, Holls.

"nose pieces are not an option." - Holly

Even though Holly "struggles" with cleanliness, she is VERY responsible and has proven herself over and over in that area.  She has one of the sharpest memories I know and being a pleaser, she does what she's told.  I'm confident Holly will take good care of her glasses and aim to make us proud.  I love this little freckled face four eyes!

She's fore sure gunna rock selfie Sunday.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Christmas (un)card

I love Christmas cards.  Each one of you that sent us one is on display.  I never throw them away and love looking through the memories each year when we pull them out.  I'm also a faithful Christmas card sender.  Until this year.  I dropped the ball.  I tried to be super organized and plan family photos really early.  We had one shot.  It was a hilarious fail and I promise to be better next year.

 My orphan children:

From my imperfect family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Winter is creeping in rather quickly which means only one thing and you know it.  Holidays?  Game on.  Fresh balsam candle lit, Christmas music playing, and DIY projects on deck.  As a kid, I specifically remember loving christmas season because everywhere you go people are generally happier.  I have harmony in my blood and angry people confuse me.  At Christmastime, everyone is smiling.  Strangers go out of their way to wish you Happy Holidays.  In the blistering cold, people will stop mid frostbite and dig in their pockets for change for the Salvation Army.  Starbucks workers step up their game tenfold and I don't care what anyone says, those red cups are magical.  Never do I see a canned food drive that doesn't make me want to clean out my entire kitchen and the Christmas lights?  OH the Christmas LIGHTS!

I never want to cheat on Thanksgiving with Christmas but I folded.  We have plenty to be thankful for and I DO love a good Thanksgiving day parade.  The whole day is one big basket of tradition for us and I can hardly wait.  I've been experiencing holidays with kids now for quite sometime and I can't put into words how much joy it brings me to see my siblings get a taste of Christmastime bliss with children.  And by bliss I obviously mean stress.  May they never forget to move the damn elf and remember to change the wrapping paper for santa.

A real text conversation between my sister and I:

Mandy:  Melrose stayed home sick today and her and Marlow are making their Christmas list.  Straight out of the American Girl catalog.  Mel said, "don't worry mom, we will ask Santa for all of this stuff because we know it's really expensive."  Help.

Me:  Let the stressful Christmases begin.  Don't worry it will die down in about 13 years.  Holly created a powerpoint Christmas list this year which includes:  a puppy, a hedghog, a trampoline, an iPad min, an apple laptop, uggs, and a NorthFace.  And those are just my faves.

Kids are the worse.

It's hilarious to me how much fun Christmas is.  Like the whole world is having a bangin' party for 2 months straight.  Kids are delusional and parents just laugh.  At least I do.  Of course, we work hard at teaching our kids the true meaning of Christmas but it's still hilarious when they hand you that list of complete delusion.  Every year I grow a little wiser when it comes to kids and Christmas and that's why I'm able to laugh at those lists.  They get wrapped up in the excitement too and it's ridiculously easy to reign them back in.  They also don't care what they ACTUALLY get Christmas morning (well, Sam kinda does).  Oh, and mom to mom:  Stay far far away from Ferbies.  I'm ready to dropkick this one sitting next to me right now.  There is no off button.  So.  You're welcome.

Last year, I wrote a post about being Thankful on Thanksgiving and it got 700 hits in one day.  I have no idea how or why but I know it made me smile.  I never know what the people of the blogosphere will like but if I was a bettin' lady, I would put my money on this video:

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmastime!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


As a kid, I loved to collect things.  Tiny things that served no purpose.  One of my best collections was one my sister and I had together. It was glass figurines from the Disney store. We got those suckers for every birthday and holiday and they sat perfectly on the hutch in between our twin beds. We never touched them because we respected the collection so much. I was roughly 10 years old when my little brother climbed that hutch and our entire collection came tumbling to it's death.

Luckily, I still had my candy caboodle to fill the ache in my heart.

I also collected pieces of candy, the tinier the better, and separated them into compartments of my caboodle. I justified this one by telling my family that I had us covered if we were ever trapped in case of a tornado. We would not die hungry. They made fun of me pretty hardcore but truth be told, they were so jealous.  As awesome as that caboodle was, it did not hold a candle to my Lisa Frank sticker collection.

My cousin, Jamie, and I regularly got together to trade everything Lisa Frank like it was our job. Unicorns leaping over rainbows and neon tiger cubs were life.  I know now that I'm getting old when I want to put sunglasses on every time I walk into Justice but feel squeals of excitement if I see a Lisa Frank folder.

Collections are so super funny to me.  Really even now they make me giggle.  Ironically,  I hate clutter and often get myself into trouble with my addiction to throwing things away.  But collections of the most random things? Highly entertaining.

A few years ago I was obsessed with collecting boxtops.  It got to a point where I would only buy snacks that had them.  (FYI certain fruit snack brands have 6 boxtops on every box!  You're welcome.)  This is not a joke.  I was super OCD about how they were cut and kept them all sealed in a Ziploc.  When the collection got to a respectable point, I sent them to school with my kids.  That day was always so bittersweet.  A mix of pride and grief.

Not all collections have to be so ridiculous.  Some of them I'll never tire of.  For example, sometimes I look at my kids' old report cards in the "report card tub" just for a smile.  We also collect school picture magnets from over the years and Stella plays with them like action figures.  Everyday I can't possibly collect enough hugs, I LOVE YOU's, stories and lululemon leggings.  And someone needs to cuts us off from the Pumpkin weigh station at Vala's because it looks like a giant gourd threw up in my house.  My fall decor has to be somewhere between candy caboodle and Disney figurine status.  With the amount of time all of our stuff spent in storage, our house didn't stand a chance this year.  It's a cheesy mess of pumpkins, scarecrows, and sunflowers.

Gage thought I was nuts when I asked him to cut a 2x4 up for me so I could make this.  Pretty sure I nailed it.

Sitting down to write this blog post has got me missing how often I used to write.  Stella's childhood is documented only here.  She has a frame on her bedroom wall with a picture of Holly in it simply because it's been years since I've printed pictures.  Sorry, 3rd child.  I'll blog more.  I'll take more pictures and eventually I'll print some.  In the very small amount of free time I have, we try to make memories but writing them down feels impossible at times. Stella begged me for weeks to find a pile of leaves for her to jump in.  I'm pretty sure they read a "leaf" book at preschool because we don't even have a tree.  When she told me she had an idea to have grandpa come over with some leaves like he's some sort of superhero that can make the impossible possible,  I knew she wasn't kidding.   I grabbed my camera and we headed to the park.

She literally can't get enough of that pose

If only we all had toddler problems.  Just think of how peaceful life would be if all you had to worry about was finding a big ass pile of leaves to jump in.  Or maybe that's all adults need?

It's a 3 day weekend, the trees are gorgeous, the weather is perfect and Valas is open for 15 more days.  I say stop to jump in the leaves today, friends!  Or if you are the reserved type, start a collection.  They are equally entertaining.  TGIT!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Warp

This past week I've felt myself feeling flustered.  As if my busy life and schedule hasn't allowed me to realize the harsh truth.  We've lived in our house for 6 months now. Which seems crazy and that reality has had me daydreaming 6 months down the road.  March 2015. That's when I panicked. I'm 6 short months away from raising a teenager and I'm freaking out.  He's a good kid and I'm trusting God blah blah blah there time to relax EVER?

I'm desperately grasping at answers that don't exist.  I have a death grip on his childhood and I'm getting weak.  It feels like yesterday that he told me he was going to be a rockstar when he grows up and get me front row seats to all his concerts.  Now he's asking to go to Middle School parties and dances and all I want to do is lock him in a bubble.  Maybe as a last ditch effort to freeze time.  It's getting harder and harder to keep him innocent.  Girls are starting to notice those brown eyes and I can only hope they don't melt the way I do when they gaze into them.  I don't know how much longer I can convince him that all girls have cooties.

He's a social guy and loves football games and parties.  I loved those things too when I was his age so I can easily talk myself down from the cliff there.  Recently he told me he preferred American Eagle over the Nike store and that's when a tiny part of me slipped into depression.


Teenagers like America Eagle.  I just can't.

I'm trying super hard to live in the moment and not think about how this time next year he will most likely be taller than me. Every milestone up to this point has been something to celebrate but I'm petrified of the teen years.  All I can hope is that I'm prepared.  That as his parents, we are equipped to handle this hurricane a brewing.  When his voice cracks for the first time how will I compose myself? I'm dead serious. I love his little boy voice. I'll cry when it's gone.

I'm publicly promising myself to remain calm.  He's growing up and I can't do anything about it.  Rockstar or not, I'll always be in the front row cheering my guts out for this kid.  Even though I often disagree, I'm honored God thinks I was the right choice to raise him.

That boy on the mound.