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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.

Maybe I'm not the worst mother ever, afterall. At dinner tonight I overheard the mom at the table behind us asking her daughter what she wanted from the grocery store for breakfast this week.....the options were poptarts, muffins, BROWNIES, or pretzels. Really?! Do people really let their kids eat brownies and pretzels for breakfast??? I guess I can stop beating myself up over the fact that I have been allowing my kids to eat Fruit Loops this week. It could be worse :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

so big so fast

I don't know when it happened, but suddenly Emma seems so grown up. She is quickly moving from a little girl to a "kid". Does it happen when they turn 5?? Or when they start to round that corner from preschool to Kindergarten?? Here are just a few examples of things I've noticed in the past few days that remind me that my baby is getting big.
I can just barely hold her anymore....and when I am holding her, she's almost as long as I am :( She often starts conversations with, "Hey mom, you know what's really interesting.........". Yesterday, she woke up from her nap before everyone else, so she grabbed a tube and floated with me in the pool and just talked my ear off about friends and school and whatever else was on her mind. Was it really only five years ago that she was just a baby?

easter weekend..continued!

happy girl

funny faces :)

By this point in the weekend, Ryan and I are so worn out that we are going out to dinner in our scrubs. At least the girls still have their dresses on :)

I tried to put Emma's hair in rollers before church. She cried and yelled at me and told me that I made her hideous. Did I ever mention that little girls are often emotional?!

The craziness of our holiday weekend continued on Sunday!! Emma woke up at 6:30 screaming when she saw her easter basket, which of course woke up the entire household :) The girls hunted around the house for eggs until it was light enough (and late enough...trying to be considerate of the neighbors!) to go outside to hunt for some more. They were surprisingly good about sharing the eggs and not fighting for them. An egg had to pretty much smack Madeline in the face in order for her to see it, so Emma was a great big sister and helped point out eggs to her. The Leap Frog computers from the easter bunny were a huge hit!! Ryan and Iourselves all were enjoying a day of silence as the girls had their faces glued to their games and wondering why we hadn't bought them sooner :) The girls were already starting to meltdown by 8:30 in the morning. After church, we went to Grandma & Grampa's house for brunch...yum! Then we came home and Ryan and the girls took naps and I floated in the pool. Then we went out to dinner (and actually ate in peace thanks to the Leapsters!!) and took the girls to see the Hannah Montana movie. They loved it-Emma would get all shy and try to hide her head whenever there was a romantic scene and Madeline laughed at the top of her lungs (by far the loudest person in the whole theater) whenever there was a funny scene. The girls were wiped out from a long weekend of nonstop fun and too much candy. Emma passed out immediately in the car on the way home and ended up sleeping all night in her easter dress. Madeline was so overtired that she fought going to bed and stayed up until 10:45 screaming her head off. Claire was just going with the flow as usual :) You think I would've learned my lesson and made the kids stay home and get well rested today, but it was Emma's last day off of school and we spent the afternoon playing at Chick fil A with friends instead. I guess tomorrow will have to be our day for getting back to reality.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

an unexpected gift

It's been almost five years since we've moved into our house. At the time, my brother was "healthy" and leading a normal life. He lived on his own and had a job traveling around selling tropical plants. We had only lived in our house for a few days and it was still mostly empty when Tim came over to Fort Myers for the day to sell us plants for our backyard. Thanks to my lack of a green thumb, a few of those plants didn't survive, but five years later, most of them are still here....even though my brother is not. I remember that day so clearly, when my brother used his love of the outdoors and his knowledge of landscaping to help us make our new house feel more like our home. It is so special to me that I can daily look out my windows and see those palm trees growing big and strong and be reminded of Tim.

Tomorrow it will be fifteen months since he's been gone and there are still so many things about him that I remember so clearly and miss so much. I remember that when he would tell a joke, he would laugh out of the left side of his mouth. I remember that he had bright, sparkling eyes that had so much love in them (especially for his little sister!). I remember that he is probably the only person I've ever met that actually loved strawberry slimfast shakes (ew!). I remember that when he was annoyed with me or wouldn't want me around, he'd tell me to "beat it". I remember that he had really skinny ankles for such a big guy-not a gene that I inherited, unfortunately. Maybe the fact that his ankles were so skinny is why he always loved to point out that mine were not! I remember how much he always loved kids and how great he was as an uncle. One of the things I miss the most is that my Madeline and Claire with never know about this love. I am thankful that Emma will. I remember sitting on the couch with him the day before he went to hospice and wiping his mouth as he ate. I remember still joking with him the day before he died even though he was barely conscious. I remember how brave he was lying those months in that bed waiting to die. I am beyond thankful today, as I celebrate Easter, that the reason he could be so brave was that he knew the importance of what Jesus did on the cross and he knew that because he had a saviour who died for him, he had nothing to fear. I remember that as he took his last breath, he smiled.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

easter weekend-part one!

Today started all of the Easter festivities!! We went to breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Miromar with Norma, Jeremy and Layla. The girls had sooo much fun. I was shocked that Emma and Madeline willingly hopped right up to get their picture taken with him and were not bashful. I guess the Easter Bunny is not quite as intimidating as Santa :) They ate breakfast and colored and hula hooped and even got little goody bags. Afterwards, they got to decorate bunny cookies with every kind of candy and sprinkle imaginable...the sugar overload has just begun. Then, we had a little Easter party of our own at home this afternoon. We dyed eggs and then had cupcakes and ice cream....pretty much just because I can't resist and excuse to eat cupcakes. Really, who can?!

I can't wait for the girls to wake up in the morning!! I seriously get so excited to see their reactions and enthusiam that I just might lose some sleep tonight over the anticipation of the fun morning that awaits us!!! Our morning will be chaotic....easter egg hunt, easter baskets, breakfast, getting all five of us ready for church...I better get some sleep. Happy Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

family fun night

We had one of those great nights at home that I love. We took a walk/bike ride around the neighborhood. The girls love to take turns riding their bikes and scooters and pulling Claire in the wagon. Emma has dreams of becoming a track star oneday, so she loves to practice running. When we got home, it was time for their dance party....always hilarious!

hippity hoppity

.....easter's on it's way! I LOVE holidays!! I think that making holidays special and starting traditions for your family is one of the very best parts of being a mom. Last night, I went out to perform my "easter bunny" duties and spent way too much money as usual. The problem is that Emma usually finds something she absolutely has to have AFTER her birthday and Christmas are over, which means waiting almost another year to get whatever it is. Soooooo the responsibility falls into the hands of the Easter Bunny. This year, the must have item is a Leap Frog computer and it just so happens that Madeline really wants one too and it just wouldn't be fair if the Easter Bunny brought one for one girl and not the other. Luckily, Target is having a big sale on them right now and I was able to get them for about half price. Such a blessing! Not so luckily, the Easter Bunny can't only bring a computer-or their baskets would be empty (and daddy would be missing his reese's peanut butter cup eggs...yum!), but he can't JUST bring candy because the would just be too unhealthy, so there's needs to be some other stuff in the basket (can you see where I am going with this?!). And then there's the fact that I always care way too much about how cute everything is gonna look in the basket, so of course I have to keep that in mind while shopping. Yeah, I tend to have a habit of going overboard.

We have a busy holiday weekend to look forward to and I can't wait! Emma has no school on Friday and we are heading to the water park with some friends. On Saturday morning, the girls are having breakfast with the Easter Bunny and going to a cookie decorating event-fun!! Then we have our easter egg hunt at church on Sunday and I keep hearing Emma tell Madeline that the Easter Bunny is gonna hide eggs in our yard, so apparently we are having one at home too! Sometime between now and then, we've got to find time to color some eggs-every year we seem to leave this for the last minute. And of course, there's always the stress of finalizing everyone's easter outfits...so important :) In the midst of all the chaos, my goal is to not lose sight what easter is really about and to instill in my children that in the end, that's ALL that matters.

big strides!

I took the girls to the pool this afternoon and they were swimming champs!! Emma has always been a really strong swimmer and is now practicing diving, doing flips underwater and swimming the length of the pool. Madeline pretty much taught herself how to swim today in about a half hour. It was crazy! She started off with her floaties on jumping into the pool. Then she started jumping and making herself dunk underwater. Then she started jumping and swimming to me underwater and back to the wall again. She was terrified to take the floaties off of her arms even though she wasn't using them at all, so I just kept letting the air out until finally she realized they were useless and she got brave enough to take them off. I couldn't believe it...she must've jumped in and swam back to the side about fifty times. She was so proud of herself that she absolutely did not want to leave. I bribed her with a stop at 7-11 to pick out her own pack of gum as a reward for taking the floaties off :) Poor little Claire sat in her stroller the whole time like a little orphan child...luckily strangers always want to stop and talk to her:) The pool wiped them all out pretty good-I have a feeling that all 3 of them will be asleep for the rest of the afternoon. I am not complaining!

just a pic from our most recent trip to disney. ry made emma go on the rapids with him and she didn't know what she was in for. she was not happy when she came off of the ride soaking wet and had to changer her clothes!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

fun with friends

This afternoon, went to the playground at Miromar with Vicky and her three girls. The kids had a blast. Emma jumped off of the castle and hurt her ankle and Ellie spent the whole time taking care of her and being her nurse. They were so sweet together....an answer to many prayers over a long period of time! Emma's now begging for the entire Stinziano family to come for a sleepover, but maybe she'll settle for just dinner:) I loved the time I got to spend with Vicky and of course the shopping I was able to squeeze in while we were there!


I have not been able to get enough of Madeline lately! I feel like the year from 2 to 3 is such a big leap from a baby/toddler to a little girl and it's so adorable to watch. It might be because Madeline is soooo me in both looks and personality-I swear it's like seeing myself 28 years ago when I look at her, but this little girl just makes my heart want to jump out of my chest.

Here's what she's been up to:

First of all, I could listen to her talk all day. She's so grown up in her vocabulary and what she's saying, yet it all comes out in this little tiny voice that's to die for. She knows every word to pretty much every song she's ever heard and she belts them out, always in tune and always with lots of drama, but it's all in her stinkin cute baby voice.

In her world, nothing is big or small.....EVERYTHING is described as "big giant" or "really tiny baby". And I mean everything-from the size of her pancakes to the length of her nap. I hear these words all day long.

She adores Claire more than anything. Madeline dotes on her all day long and talks to her in this really high pitched voice. If I am not in the room and Claire starts crying, Madeline will run in to get me hysterical that Claire is upset and needs me right away. She can't handle her little sister being unhappy. And she is constantly giving Claire a blankie to comfort her (which Claire could care less about!) but to Madeline, her blankie is her world so it's how she knows how to help.

She wants nothing more than to be just like Emma. Emma just got a new big girl car seat and Madeline cannot handle the fact that she's not big enough for it-she throws all out fits everytime we get into the car. Lately, she's been dressing herself everyday in Emma's clothes that are all two sizes too big.

She wakes up in the morning and is immediately starving and eats enough for an army!! A typical breakfast for Madeline consists of two bowls of cereal (one bowl of each kind), oatmeal, eggs, sausage, yogurt, maybe some kind of fruit....and she has it all spread out before her like a buffet! The part that kills me though, is that a half hour later, she'll come up to me whining that she's hungry and needs a snack. I swear that she thinks eating is a sport :)

Bubble gum is the love of her life right now. She talks about gum all day and is always wondering when her next oppurtunity to get a piece will be. She says that she wants to have a gumball birthday party where we all sit around chewing gum. And nobody can swim at the party of their gum will get wet. No eating cake, either-it will make the gum too yucky! Duh.

She's a champ on the potty. She never needs to be reminded and never needs any help. She does have two rules, though. No watching her go potty and no saying, "yay, you're a big girl!".
Can you only guess what Emma has to do everytime Mad is going potty?! Opening the door and yelling, "yay, big girl!" Big surprise :)

She loves to talk about things that she thinks are really silly and then scrunch her nose up and shake her head any say, "noooo.....we don't do that, that would be silly!"

Lastly, I love her curls!!! When she was a baby and first started getting them, I was a little stressed out, but I have grown to love them. They are bleach blond right now from the pool and sun and they so fit her personality. She'll even tell you-"I have crazy hair!"

So, not to leave out either of my other girls on this post, but Madeline is just at an age where she is really coming into her own and I am in love with getting to know who she is. Besides, every middle child needs their time in the spotlight once in a while :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

change is in the air

I love change. I thrive on it. In a few months, Emma will be starting Kindergarten and the stress of figuring out which school will be best for her drives me crazy, yet I am excited by the aniticipation of change in our family. I am excited to see what God has in store for us next!! I can't wait to see what changes occur in our daily schedules, routine and relationships as a result of our little girl venturing off into the big world. Emma has gotten into both schools in our neighborhood (I was hoping that she would only get into one, making our decision that much easier...not so lucky.) and we have the next two weeks to decide what we think will be the best fit for her. AGH! The pressures of parenting :)

p.s. three posts so far today....what's wrong with me?!

what i'm loving right now

These are my favorite posts to write, because they are the most meaningful to go back later and read to remind me of what was going on in my life at this time. So here goes....

1. Facebook. The ability to know what pretty much every person I've ever known is doing at any given time of the day?! It's priceless. Need I say more?

2. J. Crew. Ok, this one dates back to when I was 10 years old and I would sit in my family room playing "J Crew phone operator" and pretending to take orders from the catalog. (Who does that?!) I have recently returned to my love of all things J. Crew (and crewcuts, for that matter) and find myself studying the catalog. pathetic!

3. Girlfriends. There is something so special about having friends in your life whom you can totally relate to and live life along side of.

4. Kickboxing. Thanks to great new classes by Nicole, I have remembered why I fell in love with kickboxing in the first place. There is nothing like practicing the simple art of kicking and punching and taking all of your frustrations out on a little red bag :)

5. Being married to my best friend. As our 10 year anniversary is approaching, I am so thankful that I still absolutely love being married to Ryan. It amazes me that just having him around makes even the most mundane things bearable!

6. Spray Tanning! I am addicted to waking up the day after a spray with the best tan ever! Ryan keeps threatening to cancel my membership, but I think that he's secretly just jealous that I'm always tanner than he is :)

7. Nursing Claire. I have always been the type of mom who is grateful when the year is up and I can wean my baby from nursing and get my freedom back. Not this time. With Claire, I am in no hurry and I am savoring these last few months of nursing her because I know that it's the last time I will do it :(

8. American Idol. Cheesy as it sounds, I love sitting down with Ryan (and sometimes the girls) and watching the contestants sing. I love that Emma is in awe over the fact that the judges really are gonna tell them if they did good or bad and she loves to critique the singers. I love that Madeline only wants to hear the girl with the red hair sing, simply because she has red hair.

9. Thursday morning Illuminate. Often the highlight of my week, I so look forward to bible studay on Thursday mornings. I love to hear and study the word with friends, I love hanging on every word that Desiree says, I love to have a 2 1/2 hour break from my kids and I love that I get to drink coffee and eat yummy desserts on top of it all!!

10. Lunches with my family. Ever since Madeline was born, Ryan has been coming home to eat with us on his lunch hour. I love that time we have as a family and I live for the fact that even though it's only for a few mintues, I get to see my husband in the middle of the day!!!


I love Mondays!! Or at least, I love Mondays that are followed by very productive Sundays. I love waking up to a clean house and a fridge stocked with groceries from three different stores with EVERYTHING we need for the week. I love feeling refreshed after a few days of sleeping in (7:30 counts as sleeping in, right?!) and renewed after spending two days with Ryan. I love feeling recentered after a great service at Summit. I love that I have a kick-butt workout on Monday mornings to jumpstart my week. And I love that on this Monday, all of this is happening in the absence of a dog!!!! Finally, we broke down this weekend and gave Rex away to a family with older kids that are hopefully appreciating the little guy much more than we ever could. And I love that Ryan steam cleaned all of our carpets and our house is rid of Rex's pee......FOREVER!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the first ever boyd family photo shoot!

It's only taken us five years, but today we had our family pictures taken for the first time! It was hot and humid and after the first 15 minutes the kids were melting down, but still.....it was so much fun!! Check out the pics at http://www.mariaglassford.com/ . Maria, we can't thank you enough! Tonight at bedtime, Madeline prayed "Dear Jesus, thank you for taking pictures". So sweet :)