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Sunday, December 20, 2009

santa who?

Since Emma was two years old, she has been asking question after question about Santa...really making me work to convince her that he is real. I remember changing the wrapping paper on her gifts at midnight on christmas eve that year so that she would believe that Santa really did bring them. I picked out the ugliest paper that I could find...something that didn't look like anything I would ever buy...all of this to convince a two year old that there was such thing as Santa!! This year, she has started saying things like Santa comes to her classroom every night and puts something special in their stockings. Then she'll say, "Well...Mr. DiNoto REALLY does it and he just tells the kids it's Santa". The other day, I overheard her telling her friends that Santa is fake. I asked her later on what she meant by that and she just kept saying that Santa is fake and he's just a grandpa with a red suit on and there's no way he really knows what we do, etc. I told her that if she doesn't believe in him, he may not bring her gifts...she replied with, "Ok, fine then..he's real. But he's really not." Ugh! She's only five years old and way too young not to believe in Santa, but she's such a realist and sees things in black and white and just can't be convinced. I'm not giving in, though. I'm not ready to let the dream die. Above all, I want my kids to know and appreciate what Christmas is really about....the fact that God loved us so much that He took on the form of man and walked and lived among us and then died undeservingly so that we may live. I, however, am such a dreamer/romantic/sensationalist and a HUGE lover of christmas, that not having my kids believe in Santa is just out of the question ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

cookie time!

The girls and I made cookies yesterday to take to Emma's class Christmas party. The kitchen was a disaster....it looked like an explosion of flour, food coloring and sprinkles, BUT the girls had sooooo much fun that it made the clean up worth it. We ended up not making enough, so the lucky girls get to do it all over again today. Tis the season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

thirty one

I can't believe I am thirty one. I can't believe that before I know it, I will be fourty one and thirty one will seem YOUNG. I had a great birthday this year.!!! Ryan knows how much of a birthday freak I am, so he takes off of work every year and spends the entire day doing everything and anything I want to do. I love it!! This year, I woke up to a huge breakfast buffet(which I could barely eat because I was still full from dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with my girlfriends the night before!), a treasure hunt of cards around the house from the kids and of course a pile of presents :) We spent the day in Naples at the mall "Christmas shopping" (I think everything we bought was actually for ourselves and no one else....). Ryan's mom was nice enough to watch the girls for us that night so we could go on a date....and shop some more. :)

As a reflection on yet another year of my life coming to a close, I thought I would take a second to jot down 31 blessings in my life as I turn 31......

1. a God that loves me unconditionally in spite of soooo many shortcomings
2. a husband that I stilll get excited about after half a lifetime together
3. emma's eyes
4. madeline's curls
5. claire's cheeks
6. my mom's wisdom and advice...especially when it comes to parenting
7. my dad's sweetness/tenderness
8. a sister who is my best friend
9. a best friend that feels like another sister
10. in laws that I actually love being with
11. the world's sweetest grandma and grandpa "in law" to take the place of the ones that I don't have
12. that I never have to be sad when I wake up the day after my birthday, or letdown that it's over, because Christmas is then only 1o days away!!
13. ryan's new "faux hawk" hairdo. totally on accident and totally adorable!! :)
14. running outside
15. the smell of my christmas tree
16. tiny white christmas lights
17. pigtails
18. proverbs 31...and the way it challenges me to be a better wife and mother
19. Godly women that I can learn from and strive to resemble
20. going to endless birthday parties with the kids...and eating tons of cake
21. girls night out
22. something crazy like 6 or 7 trips away without the kids this year....i'm so spoiled
23. madeline's hilarious dance moves
24. the way emma figures out these "big ideas" on her own and they are so simple to me, yet so profound to her
25. when claire screams at the top of her lungs with excitement when Ryan comes home
26. little things that i stumble upon in my day that remind me of my brother...like a certain song or food that triggers a memory of him
27. going to the movies...even if it's my myself...a few hours in a quiet theater is priceless
28. coffee!!
29. a husband that always puts his family first and always makes me feel loved and secure
30. naptime
31. listening to christmas carols in the car or as i clean the house (and not just in december!)

I could go on all day, my life is so blessed in many ways. But for the sake of my thirty first birthday, I'll spare you all the rest and stop at thirty one :)

Friday, December 4, 2009


Yesterday, I made the kids pancakes for breakfast and they inhaled them. I was loving the fact that their bellies were full and they weren't begging for snacks and hour later (as they do most days, when they only pick at their breakfast). So....today, I made pancakes again.....Emma ate 1/2 of a pancake, nobody else even touched one and I have 11 1/2 leftover. I don't know if I am more annoyed that suddenly, nobody in this house likes the very thing that they loved the day before, the fact that they are going to be starving in a little while and begging for food (to which I will not give in, because I am annoyed at the whole pancake scenario and this will cause some major drama), or at the fact that this all happenend before 7am while it was still pitch black outside and I would've much rather been in bed than in the kitchen making pancakes in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank goodness for blogging, and a place to let out my frustrations!!! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

blah blah blog

This week has been like groundhog's day for me...not much to write about. Kids up at the crack of dawn, starving and begging for breakfast, school, gym, errands, lunch, naps, homework, dinner, kids to bed, me fast asleep on the couch, blah, blah , blah. I am in need of either a night out, a morning to sleep in, or both!!

We started our annual advent calendar this week....so much fun for the kids and sooo festive, so of course I love it, too :) Each day, someone gets a gift out of the calendar. This is the first year that I have really had to put a lot of thought into who gets what on which day, because I am anticipating lots of sibling rivalry, aka "mad gets EVERYTHING", or "that's not fair...how come emma gets that and I don't?!!?!". Day three, and so far so good...the girls have been pretty gracious with each other and there has been no drama yet :)

We are getting into full Christmas swing around here. I love every second of it!! Last weekend, I took the kids to the play area at Gulf Coast and it was the perfect night...55 degrees outside, kids all bundled up, Christmas carols playing through the speakers at the playground, a peppermint mocha for me and cookies for the kids....I didn't want the night to end! The next day, we took the kids to see Santa. This was maybe the first year that nobody was afraid of him...Claire and Mad hopped right up on his lap and Emma got to snuggle by his side. Em asked him for "paperoni" and Mad asked for a bike. "Santa" had no idea that Mad wanted a bike, so we'll see what happens with that ;) Emma, who I am pretty sure has been questioning whether Santa is real or not for her entire life, has been talking ever since about how the workers there better do a really good job or else nobody will believe in the magic of Christmas?!?! She puts way toooo much thought into everything, if you ask me!

Well, I hear Mickey Mouse Clubhouse starting in the background (again!), so I know that I've got about 15 minutes before we need to leave for school!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

so many faves....i had to post them all :) thank you, maria!!!!

turkey day eve

We just got back from another photo shoot....Maria and I took the kids to Koreshan State Park today for a playdate behind the camera. I am so excited to see how the shots turned out!!! Maria is so talented and the kids were pretty cooperative today, so I think we were able to get some good ones. There is something so precious about frilly, girly outfits combined with rustic old buildings, dirty, rainy woods....and playful laughter. It was a great morning spent with great friends and I'll be happy to have the picutres to capture the day :)

We are loving having Nate and Alex in town for the holiday. Yesterday was Nate's birthday, so we went over to Ryan's parents' house to celebrate. The kids wiped Grandpa out....they had him in the pool all afternoon and night...thankfully, they wiped themselves out too. I got to grill Nate about his new girlfriend who seems absolutely adorable and who I can't wait to meet!!! The girls can't get enough of Alex..Emma got all dressed up for him yesterday...I don't think she gets the fact that he is her cousin and that he will never be her boyfriend ;) Now we are off to the circus with the whole gang.....life is good and I have so much to be thankful for! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

taking it easy

Claire has strep throat and she's pretty miserable, so today we are staying home just taking it easy. Of course, I want her to feel better, but I am thankful for a day where I am forced to stay home and get things done. Claire is like a zombie in front of the TV, Mad is playing in her room, and I am savoring the peace and quiet....still in my pajamas....cleaning and catching up on laundry. It's funny and sad at the same time that cleaning is such a rare thing in my life that it's actually post-worthy :)

Did I mention that while we were home taking it easy, Madeline decided to cut herself some bangs? Apparently, her hair was in her eyes while she was coloring and she needed to get it out of the way...what better way than to cut it off?!?!!? Thankfully, clips and headbands do wonders :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

that's my girl

sooo...after much begging, i finally set emma up with her own blog. you'll be able to tell by the phonics that she's doing this all on her own (and that she's just a bit egotistical!). hopefully over time it will be a good way to see how much she's growing, learning and changing. enjoy ;)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

family photo shoot

I thought of something that I forgot to add to my list of favorites....maria glassford photography (and maria, herself for that matter!). Today we had our second photo shoot with Maria....so much fun!! It is always hard to get everyone to do what they need to be doing at the same time, but Maria is always able to get some great shots in spite of us :) The girls were pretty good for the most part...we even got a few smiles out of Emma this time. Madeline, of course was hamming it up for the camera....posing a little TOO much. I think we spent half the time trying to get her to just smile normally and stay still. Claire was tired and miserable and pretty hard to manage, but surprisingly, some of my favorite pics are of her...even though she was a terror during the shoot! We jammed to "Party in the USA", explored downtown and got to spend the evening as a family....such a great night!

Friday, November 20, 2009

my faves

Since it's been so long since I've blogged, I wanted to do a post on my favorite things right now. Here they are in no particular order.....

1. Ryan. I know it sounds sooo cheesy and totally cliche, but I feel like I have been falling in love with him all over again. I LOVE being with him, and just can't get enough of him lately. I love that (except for the ocassional Eagles game!), he always puts our family first. I love eating three meals a day with him...and talking to him or texting him in between. I love that he is so quick to recognize my need for time away from the kids and is always willing to help out so I can get out. I love that he is totally capable of taking the three girls by himself anywhere and everywhere and that he is such a hands on dad. I love that he is a sports buff, a businessman, a handyman and a family man....at that he's good at all of those things. I love that he cares, thinks and prays deeply about what is best for our family and that I feel confident in following his lead.

2. My bible study on Ruth. I love that God is speaking so clearly to me through this study and that is pertains to exactly where I am in my life right now...and I'm just at the beginning.....I can't wait to see what else He has in store for me to learn.

3. Running...I love to run, especially running outside, whenever I get the chance. I also love that I can run a race with 500 women and beat almost all of them. It brings out the competitive side in me big time! I thrive on the nervous anxiety before a race :)

4. I love how the most exciting time of Claire's day is when she sees Ryan's car or hears his voice. She immediately gets a huge smile on her face and starts screaming, "Dada, Dada!" over and over again....and jumps out of my arms to crawl across the house to find him. Such a daddy's girl already!

5. I love that Madeline is a mini-me. Not only does she look the most like me of our kids, but she is sooo me as a little girl. She's a boy crazy, people pleasing, mommy's girl. Because of this, she is so easy to get along with and be around....she is so eager to please that most things I only have to ask of her once and her response is, "Ok, mom. I will do that." Gotta love it!

6. I love that Emma asks for a flashlight at bedtime so that she can read her bible in bed....even though at this point, that consists mostly of her underlining the word "God" and any sight words that she recognizes. Hopefully when she can really read, she will continue the habit that she is starting.

7. Target Cake. The "white" kind, made with almond extract and buttercream frosting. Mmmm....enough said!

8. Spray tanning. I am still addicted enough to believe that if it has been almost a week since my last tan, I am the ugliest person on this earth.

9. Christmastime!! Although it is hard to feel like it is really Christmas when it's 85 degrees outside, I am starting to get excited!! I love putting thought into gifts for the kids....and getting them things that they really want as well as some things that are super cute and sentimental.

10. crewcuts. I admit that I am addicted enough to go online every single morning when I wake up to see what their sale items of the day are. To my defense, the sales change daily, so how could I not check?! It's a good thing that shipping is free....I see the UPS man most days :) Unfortunately, I think that Ryan is on to me and this might be coming to and end soon :( (at least until next season!)

11. my girlfriends. I love that we can always make up an excuse to just get together and spend time with each other...even if it means going to target or costco for the tenth time that week :)

12. My iPhone. I don't know how I survived before it and I never want to live without it!!

13. The name Lola. When I was pregnant with Madeline, her name was supposed to be Lola. When she was born, I looked at her and thought she looked nothing like a Lola to me and backed out of the name....she is TOTALLY a Lola and it bugs me every day that I didn't name her it!!! I love the name enough to almost want another girl just so I get to use it....too bad Ryan would NEVER go for it. Another baby, that is. :)

girl talk

some of my favorite quotes of the day from the girls.....

This is the conversation I overheard with Emma and her friend Kyla in the car today:
Kyla: Why do you like being pretty?
Emma: Because I am. I am pretty. (duh!)
Kyla: Are you rich?
Emma: No, I'm not rich.
(At least she has SOME humility!)

On the way to my friend Jay's house for lunch, Madeline asked me if Miss Jay lives "in that big pile of our house" and I said, "you mean our neighborhood?"...."yes, our neighborhood...the big pile of houses next to ours". Yup, in fact, Miss Jay does live in that big pile:)

finally, a post!!

Wow, I can't believe that it has been three months since my last post. I feel like for me, facebook has been the new blog, but it just doens't capture as much as what is going on in our lives, so hopefully I can keep this up!

Emma 5 1/2
I can't believe that soon, Emma's Kindergarten year will be halfway over. Like most things in her life, she has a love/hate relationship with school. She loves her teacher, loves learning new things, loves homework, loves "guidance" (her favorite special), loves earning "gator bites" and buying things at the school store, loves seeing Miss Diana at school throughout the day and giving her hugs. She hates PE (way too much physical activity for this girl!), she dislikes most of the boys in her class (sadly, it won't stay this way forever!), and she hates that Madeline and Claire are at home all day with Mommy and she is not.
The hardest part of the schoolyear so far has been her giving up her naps. She is EXHAUSTED when she gets home and she looks forward all week to her naps on the weekend. One day, she told me that I ruined her life for making her "be in this grade where she goes to school all day and doesn't get to nap". Most of the time that she is not in school, she just wants to be at home. If we try to go out in the afternoons or on weekends, she usually begs to just stay home and have some "peace and quiet". I think that for this quiet, reserved little girl, a nonstop week at school is about all she can handle.
I am amazed at how quickly she has learned to read! She wants to practice her "sight words" all day long, and she tries to teach her little sisters and gets frustrated when they don't want to learn. She's at the point now, where she can pick up a little book or random things aroung the house and read to me whaever it says...CRAZY!!! I am so proud of her :)

Madeline/Maddy/Mad/lulu/baby Kate 3
Oh, Madeline! Where do I start? Mad continues to be our source of entertainment around here. She just cracks us up all day long...mostly because of her "accent" and the hilarious way she pronounces words. She is our entertainer that will dance or put on a show for anyone at anytime.
For about a month now, Mad has decided that she is "baby kate". For the most part, she is never out of character...NEVER. When she remembers to, she crawls instead of walking (even at 3am if she wakes up and wanders into our room), she asks before she eats anything if baby kate can eat that or will she choke?, when she goes to the bathroom, she tells me that she's "potty training", when she puts her undies on, she reminds me that they are not undies, they're diapers, she can be screaming and throwing a fit about something and I'll say, "Madeline" and she'll calmly stop, look at me and say "I'm not Madeline, I'm baby Kate" and then proceed with her fit. I can use this obsession to get her to do almost anything....the other day we were at the mall and she wanted pizza for lunch, but Maria and I wanted to go to Panera....so, as Mad starts crying and begging for pizza, I tell her that Panera has soup and baby kate loves soup and immediately, she stops crying and smiles and says, "Ok, let's go!". The worst thing that someone can do is tell her that she is not really baby kate and she's just pretending (and by someone, I mean Emma!) and she can't handle it...she gets sooo upset until we agree that yes, she is in fact baby kate. She's such the middle child having an identity crisis!! I would be concerned, but when I was her age, I was "baby India", so who am I to speak?!

Claire 17 months
.....and still crawling! She has been creeping around the furniture a lot more lately, and is starting to try to stand on her own, so maybe there is hope for her future :) She has been talking a lot lately...I LOVE that stage...there is always something so precious about when babies start to speak and interact with you in that way. The other night at the dinner table, she imitated her sisters and said, "big fat booty"...nice. What baby can say big fat booty before she can walk?!?! She is hooked on her pacifier that she calls "nuny". She loves to yell at me to stop or go whenever I am changing her diaper, dressing her, or doing something she doesn't want me to do. I think she's gonna be my feisty one....when she gets mad, she gets mad....and bites, pushes or grabs to get her way...nice. And all this time, I've been deceived by her sweetness! But when she's sweet, man is she sweet. She loves to cuddle and snuggle and I can't get enough of it :)

We have settled into a new routine with this schoolyear and it couldn't be better. Emma's school doesn't start until 9:15 and the girls wake up at the crack of dawn, so it gives us hours and hours in the morning to be lazy around the house, play a little, clean a little, enjoy some coffee...it's been great not having to rush out the door!! She gets out at 3:30, so I put the little girls down for their naps right after lunch and they sleep right up until we need to leave to get Em....giving me a few hours of peace and quiet in the afternoons. By the time we are home from school and get Emma's homework finished, it's almost time for daddy to come home (the best part of my day!). I feel so blessed with the family that God has given me...my life is often tiring, often frustrating, and ALWAYS messy!!! But I wouldn't trade it for anything :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Wow! This has been one crazy summer. I feel like we have not slowed down for the past three months...big vacations, little getaways, friends and family in town visiting....all very fun and very exhausting at the same time.

Here's what the girls have been up to:

Claire just turned 14 months and she finally is CRAWLING...lazy baby! She is also pulling herself up on the furniture and really trying to stand on her own, so I know that it won't be much longer before she starts braving her first steps. I am enjoying the ease of her inmobility while it lasts!! She is really developing a personality and coming out of her shell....she's reminding me a lot of Madeline in that way. She loves to get her picture taken and will pose and say "cheese" endlessly. Her favorite trick to do is "soo big" with her hands up high in the air and the girls ask her to do it about fifty times a day :) She loves to perform but then gets very bashful and tries to hide...so cute. She's snuggly and lovey and loves to laugh hysterically. Her favorite words are mama, dada, uh oh, hi, here go, this, that and the ocassional thank you. She loves to "talk" on the phone...wonder where she gets that?? Emma carries her all around the house and places her on all of the furniture (little scary to walk in my bedroom and see Claire sitting in the middle of my bed alone)...we are working on this!

Madeline is as hysterical as usual. She spends literally every second of the day singing at the top of her lungs....and most of the time it's something from High School Musical. She is on a huge "Troy Bolton" kick (and a huge boyfriend/kissing kick for that matter). Ugh! She always confuses the difference between before/after and little/big and everyday has a story about what she's gonna do "When I am a baby" aka: when she gets bigger. She is getting ready to start playing soccer and is so excited that she's been wearing her shinguards as part of her everyday attire :) She taught herself to swim this summer and is doing awesome! She loves to explore underwater and makes me nervous because she barely comes up for air.

Emma is getting ready to start school in ten days and she can't wait!! She is so excited to be big. Her summer has revolved around obsessing over getting a pet (yeah right!) and working on her entrepeneurial skills. She literally begs all day long to either go to the pet store or to have a lemonade stand/sell homemade soaps door to door/host a jewelry party....you name it. She is so eager! Claire and Emma have gotten really close and it is so cute to watch the two of them together. When Claire first wakes up, or if she is tired or upset, she loves to curl up in Emma's lap and Emma couldn't be happier. It is so precious. The other day, Ryan took the girls on a date to the pet store and the movies and Emma got to pack and carry her own diaper bag to help daddy take care of Claire. I think it was the best day of her life! She felt so grown up and so special being daddy's helper. She is also going to play soccer this fall (crossing my finger on this one) and she's really excited about it so far. She loves practicing with daddy in the backyard.

While it may be hard for me to send my baby off to Kindergarten, this summer has been so chaotic that the routine of the school year will be a big relief. The trips and spontaneity of summer have been so much fun, but I miss the humdrum of everyday life. We have one last trip to Disney this weekend and then a week at home to recover before school starts.

I have just signed up as a rep for Stella & Dot Jewelry and I am excited to get started! I wasn't looking to add anything to my plate, but I stumbled upon the line and loved it and thought that it would be an easy sell. My first trunk show is in a few weeks, so we'll see how it goes. So far, I have loved the much needed creative outlet that it has given me. Since I've had kids, I've found myself looking for excuses to throw parties so that I could have something fun to plan and put my creative efforts into...now I can put that energy into picking out the jewelry, merchandising it and throwing trunk shows...yay! I've been obsessing over the paper goods and displays for my first show for two weeks now. LOL!

That's enough for tonight :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of july

We had the best 4th of July weekend....I'm sad that it's coming to an end. On Friday night, we had a tailgating party at church to watch the fireworks and it was so much fun to spend that time with so many friends! On the fourth, we had our "first annual" 4th of July barbeque at our house. We had so much fun..the kids swam all night, the parents just chilled, the kids had a blast with the sparklers and the fireworks that Ryan and Kurt set off were awesome! Poor Emma had a pretty tough weekend...her feet got attacked by fire ants at the fireworks...then when her friends came over for the party she went to show them her hermit crab and found him dead....then she stepped on a hot sparkler and burnt the bottom of her food badly, leaving her hopping on one foot the rest of the weekend. Poor girl :( She survived it all, though and I think she still managed to have a great time. I'm not ready for Ryan to go back to work tomorrow and the partying to end...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

road trip

We made it to LBI! It was a long two days in the car, but the trip went so much better than I had anticipated. The girls were troopers in the car...I had to provide a new activity for them every half hour or so, but overall they handled it really well. On day one, we spent an awesome afternoon in Savannah, eating ice cream, seeing the sights and running around the park to blow off some steam :) We spent part of day 2 doing a mini tour of DC...the kids played on the lawn in front of the Washington Monument and we visited the Lincoln Memorial. Ryan LOVED it...the kids were just happy to not be in the car for at least a little while...and I don't care where we are or what we are doing....as long as I am with Ry and the girls, I couldn't be happier :) Emma kept saying that it was the worst trip ever and she was NEVER doing that again. I don't think she realizes that we have to do it over again next week............

Monday, June 15, 2009

just a few pics of the girls' birthday party thanks to maria!! poor claire spent more time in her crib than at her own party :(

Sunday, June 14, 2009

party time!

I am exhausted and the house is a DISASTER, but this was the best weekend I've had in a long time! My parents and my sister, Jason and the kids came into town this weekend for Madeline and Claire's birthday party. Madeline absolutely loved every second of her party and poor little Claire was so exhausted from too much partying with her cousins the day before that she slept through almost the entire party and still hasn't eaten her cake :( I thrive on party planning and love having the house full of family and friends, so I was in my glory! The best part of the weekend, though was the time I was able to spend with my parents, my sister and my girls. Life with three little ones (six when you get my sister and I together!) often gets so incredibly hectic that it is easy to go into survival mode and forget to stop and savor the moment. After church on Saturday, Kristin, my parents and I went out to dinner with Madeline while Ryan and Jason had the rest of the girls. It was so special to be able to have that one on one time with Mad and to be able to really enjoy her. (It made me realize that having one kid is a DREAM!). She was so sweet and snuggly and it was precious to be able to really spend the night intent on her. It was also great to be with my family without all of the chaos that normally surrounds us. Sunday was Emma's turn for one on one time, and she came to the beach with my parents and I. She soooo needed this. It was wonderful to be able to give her all of my attention doing something that she loves. The four of us ate bagels on the beach and swam and talked all morning...it was perfect! I spent the rest of the afternoon going out to lunch and shopping with my sister with NO KIDS!!! These moments are few and far between and it's crazy relaxing to just be together doing girly things without the stress and chaos. I am so thankful that Ryan was such a big help with the kids, allowing me to really enjoy my family this weekend...it really couldn't have been better :)

All of this blabbing and I forgot about the birthday party...I'll post some pics when I get them!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So, I took the girls to Toys R Us for a stroll through the store to get birthday gift ideas for Madeline who is the HARDEST kid to shop for!! Emma obsesses over everything she sees and collects about a million different things and Madeline is just not really into anything in particular, making it difficult to know what she would really love. After an hour and a half of scouring the store and walking up and down each and every aisle (they were in heaven!), I asked Mad what her most favorite toy was in the whole store and what she would love to get for her birthday and she says, "Um, how about just gum?". She is so sweet in the way that she's so not demanding and is totally content, but at the same time frustrating for a mommy that thrives on making holidays a big deal!! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

she's one?!

I can't believe that Claire is one already. This seriously was the FASTEST year of my life. She and Madeline are having a joint birthday party on Saturday, so yesterday was pretty low key....just a lazy day around the house with Gina and the kids over to swim. We sang to Claire at EVERY meal with a candle and all.... in the morning over blueberry muffins, at lunch over donuts and at night over brownies and ice cream....ew, that's way too much sugar now that I think about it!! She was mesmerized every time we sang to her and by the last time, she was so bashful that she tried to hide her head under her highchair :) I found myself not wanting to put her to bed last night because I didn't want her first birthday to end, so I sat in her room and rocked her and sang to her for the longest time just snuggling with her and trying to get my mind around the fact that it's already been a year since I had her. When I finally went to put her in her crib, she was so angry...she was enjoying being spoiled for a little bit :) Now we are off to the doctor for her checkup and a round of shots..... :( Next thing I know, she'll be two...I'm trying not to think about that!

Friday, June 5, 2009

where has the time gone?

Tonight was Emma's graduation from preschool. For the first half of the night, she was so typical Emma...frowning, sulking and refusing to talk to any of the other kids. About halfway through, she finally came out of her shell and we ended up closing down the place :) I knew it was going to be a sentimental night for me and I was right. I was fine up until the point that Miss Mehlberg put Emma's cap on her head and I've been choking back the tears ever since. I know it's just preschool, and it sounds silly, but she looked so grown up wearing that cap and receiving her "diploma". It really set in that she's not a baby, not a toddler, not even a preschooler anymore, yet I feel like it was just yesterday that I took her home from the hospital, potty trained her, went "shopping" for preschools. I remember being at the pool with her when she was a year old and some other moms asked if I had her on any waiting lists for preschools and I thought they were crazy-preschool seemed like a lifetime away. Now here we are, and just like that it's over. I think the thing that gets to me the most is knowing that I will never get that time with her back and it has gone by too quickly. I feel like this is just the first of many closed chapters in her life. Oh, so emotional!!!! When we got home, I gave her her graduation gifts-a jewelry box and a game for her Leapster and she was ECSTATIC! She kept her eyes closed while she was unwrapping her gifts because she didn't want to know what she was opening until the very last second. And the look on her face was priceless....she couldn't have been happier. It was a great night for her and I love that!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

utter chaos

Ryan has been in New Jersey all week. He comes home tomorrow....yay!! Whenever he is away, everyone always asks me how I do it. Here's the truth......I don't! While he is gone, I am in complete survival mode. The girls had fast food for two of their three meals today, we have no milk in the house, I just threw in the first load of laundry since last weekend and ran the dishwasher for the first time all week!! I don't think my bed has been made in days and the girls bedrooms look like a bomb went off. But my goal is by the time Ryan gets home tomorrow night to have the laundry done, the house cleaned and the fridge stocked-that way I can enjoy him all weekend rather than spending my time getting caught up on housework! Good thing he doesn't get home until late tomorrow night. I'm gonna need all the time I can get :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

little ballerina

Today was Madeline's first ballet recital. She was absolutely adorable. She loved being on stage and was half dancing and half searching the audience for us the entire time. When the song ended and the other girls walked off of the stage, she stayed onstage under the spotlight looking all over the auditorium for us until she was "escorted" off. That won her another round of applause :) There really is not much cuter than a group of two year olds wearing big giant tutus and dancing!! Afterwards, we took her to The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate....yum! Emma was a little bummed out that today was Madeline's special day (as you can tell by her face in the picture!), but on Friday night she "graduates" from preschool, so it will be her turn to shine :)

have fun to the north and south?!

Being in the car has become somewhat of a headache for me. It seems to be the perfect time for the girls to be stuck next to each other in close quarters with nothing to do but tease and torment each other. Their latest routine goes something like this:

Madeline sings: "Zippety Do Da Zippety Yay...Have fun to the north and south after all."

Emma: "Mad, that doesn't even make sense!"

Madeline: "Ha Ha Ha! Zippety Do Da.............................. " (much louder, of course)

Repeat the entire routine about 50 times or until we reach our destination!!!!!!!!! Earplugs, anyone?

Friday, May 29, 2009

rainy days

Emma and Madeline live for rainy days!! They love nothing more than putting on their boots and grabbing their umbrellas and running around in the rain. Fortunately, summer afternoons in Florida are perfect for that:)

back to life, back to reality

Our cruise was awesome!! It was so much fun to get away with each other and with great friends without the kids. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was able to live life according to my own schedule, eating and sleeping whenever I want....and it was great to have a few days of living selfishly :) By the time we got back, we were definately ready to see the girls...it seemed like forever that we were gone. When I saw Claire, I was shocked-she didn't even look like the same baby to me. It's amazing how much they change so quickly. I think I stared at her for a half hour straight saying to Ryan "I swear I've never seen this baby before. I don't even recognize her." Her hair was longer, she was fatter, she was clapping her hands and talking up a storm. She even trys to dance and sing along to Hannah Montana in the car. It's hysterical. I feel like she went from an infant to a toddler in just a few days.

The downfall to going away is that everyone is always a little out of whack while we are trying to get life back to normal. Madeline and Claire who have both always been champion sleepers have been wreaking havoc around here all week. They have both been flipping out at bedtime (Mad just lays in her bed crying and screaming "I want mommy to hug me") and then they wake up inconsolable throughout the night. Ugh!!!! Naptime has pretty much been going the same way. Thankfully, Emma is old enough to not be phased by any of this. She just keeps complaining that Madeline keeps waking her up and ruining her sleep. Ha! At least one out of the three is not giving us a hard time :) We have several trips planned this summer and I have a feeling that we are gonna be in a continuous cycle of getting adjusted and readjusted to our schedules between trips. I'm sure by the fall I'll be ready for school to start and a new routine to keep us grounded!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just a few pictures from our visit with Gramma and Grampa who were visiting from California!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

it's been a while...

Life has been crazy, busy here as usual. The girls are getting so big and changing so quickly. Claire has been talking up a storm in the last week. She's started waving and saying hi and bye and she loves to drop something and then say "uh oh". Whenever she does something new, her face lights up and she gets this coy little smile on her face like she's saying "I bet you didn't even know I could do that!". She also loves to point and everything and say "this" and sometimes "that". A week ago, all she could say was mama and dada...it seems like she just started talking overnight.

Madeline is slowly learning to be compliant. Her new thing is to throw a fit over whatever she wants and then after about 30 seconds, she just looks at me and says, "OK" in response to whatever sense I've been trying to talk into her. And just like that, the tears and the screaming stop and she moves on with her day. She cracks me up. I've started laughing now when I get the OK, because I know from the start that it is coming at any time :)

Last week we went to Emma's Kindergarten Open House (already!). We got to meet the teachers and tour the classrooms and watch a video all about what she'll be doing in school next year. She was really excited to be there and Ryan and I were surprisingly impressed with the school and are feeling much more confident in our decision to send her there. On Thursday she takes her placement test, so we have been cramming the last few days to teach her some sight words. Teaching kids to read is not easy...I'm so thankful right now that I never ended up using that teaching degree. Ugh!

We went up to Orlando for Mother's Day weekend. The car ride up there was TERRIBLE!! I think that when the kids were younger, the ride was actually easier because they would sleep most of the time. Not so much, anymore. This time, the big girls slept for a little while in the beginning of the trip and then it was three or four hours of fighting, screaming, giggling and "Are we there yet?". Claire slept and cried on and off. By the time we got to my parents house I had the worst migrane of my life. I wonder how that happened?! I've come to the conclusion that having three little kids is exhausting. Go figure.

Monday, April 27, 2009


One of my favorite memories from my childhood is all of the time I spent with my mom. I think that my mom always valued spending time together and because of this, she was always laid back about letting me take days off from school. Let's face it-it's because I was her favorite and she always wanted me around :) I can remeber taking off of school for day trips and shopping outings and mornings at Columbus Market.....I think that every school year, I pushed the attendance policy to the limit! I felt so bad for those students at graduation who received the perfect attendance award-I mean, seriously, get a life!! No offense. I love these memories. Now that I am grown, those are the days that I look back on with longing. A handful of special days playing hookey and embracing life means more to me than a hundred mundane ones.

That said, I kept Emma home from school on Thursday. We didn't do anything all that significant-we went to church for bible study and then went to Chick fil A with friends. After naptime, the girls rode their bikes for a little while around the neighborhood and then we went to the gym. But to Emma, these little things meant everything. It was a day of the week where she didn't need to leave her mommy and her sisters behind. A day where she could just BE. On the way home from the gym that night, she was writing in her journal and asked me how to spell "Thursday. It's a good day. I'm happy.". This response would seem typical for most kids. Coming from Emma, this spoke volumes and brought tears to my eyes. Two days later, during breakfast she got her journal out and asked how to spell "Today is a bad day. A terrible, horrible, bad, bad day." That's Emma for you :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

let the craziness begin.....

Ryan left this morning on a business trip, so it's me and the girls for the rest of the week. I am already feeling the pain of his absence-time to drive Emma to school! I forget sometimes how spoiled I am by having him take her and pick her up everyday. It's not easy getting myself and three kids fed, dressed and out the door by 8:30. Maybe that means I should get off of the computer??!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

an ode to claire bear

What a gay title!! Claire is getting so big these days-I can't believe that it is almost time for me to start planning her first birthday party. I just thought I'd take a second to jot down a few things about what she's up to these days. She absolutely loves food, just like Madeline did. She's eating everything in sight!! Her favorite thing to eat right now are tomatoes and she gets so mad if someone else is eating them and she's not. I am slowly starting to wean her:( Today I cut back her afternoon feeding, so now she's only nursing twice a day. Ryan and I are going on a cruise with some friends in 5 weeks (can't wait!!) so I need to start cutting the ties. I am excited to go away without the kids, but heartbroken at the thought of being away from Claire for the first time. She has six giant teeth and she LOVES to use them. She bites my arm whenever I am holding her (I've actually got bruises from it) and she thinks it's hilarious. Me-not so much. The madder I get, the funnier she thinks it is. She is starting to get really vocal and babbles all the time. Her only real words are mama and dada and once or twice I've heard her say "uh oh", but of course when I try to get her to repeat it she looks at me like I'm crazy. She loves anybody and everybody that she comes in contact with and she HATES to be alone. As long as she can see another person, she's as happy as can be but as soon as you walk out of the room she screams her head off. Good thing I've got two big sisters who can "babysit" her for me :) When she smiles she squints her eyes and her whole entire face scrunches up. She is super cuddly and I love more than anything to just sit with her and hold her whenever I get the chance. I am savoring every second with my last baby because I know it goes by way too fast.