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Sunday, October 31, 2010

trick or treat!!

Another Halloween has come and gone! We had a great night trick or treating with the girls. It was fun to trick or treat in some cool weather for a change, and the orange leaf covered streets and sidewalks were the perfect backdrop!! Claire made it as far as the house next door and that's when she basically quit. Ryan and I took turns carrying her all over town...she let us put her down at each house to bashfully collect her candy and then jumped right into our arms once she obtained her goods. The big girls had so much fun running from house to house and used perfect trick or treating manners :) After a while, they had had enough and were ready to head back home and warm up and eat dinner and pass out some candy themselves. The best part of my night may have been after dinner when Claire and Mad were too beat to go out again but Emma got her second wind and was ready for a little more. We went out trick or treating for a while, just the two of us and I got to enjoy some one on one time walking up and down the street hand in hand with my little girl listening all about halloween from the perspective of a six year old :) She loved to examine each of the houses on the street and try to determine based on the lights, decorations, etc whether the people were home or not and found it very thoughtful when the people who weren't home or had run out of candy put a sign on the door to let everyone know. Her monologue was pretty entertaining...how I love those rare moments when everything and everyone else fades away and I can soak in my girls one at a time.

Friday, October 29, 2010

falling for fall

I've always loved the change of seasons. It's funny how I grew up my whole life with them and after being gone for several years it's as thought I'm experiencing it for the first time. Fall is breathtaking. The colors of the trees baffle me...I find myself driving through town just to soak in the beauty of what surrounds me. There is a tree on my street whose colors are so shocking...almost irridecent...so beautiful that I have actually saw a person get out of his car and stand in the middle of the street just to photograph it. I love that leaves fall and collect like firey snow....on the sidewalk, on parked cars. On my run the other night, I ran right through a sidewalk covered in orange leaves...beautiful. I always love this time of year...Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkins and hayrides. I usually love fall mostly because I know that Christmas is following in it's footsteps. This year I'm trying to love it for what it is and savor each day of the beauty...for the first time in my life...Christmas can wait.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the FULLness of life

small house + small gym = small body. big house + big gym = big body?? For the past several years, my house has been small, my kids have been climbing on top of each other and my small gym has been my great escape. And I have to say, it had been working pretty well for me. What better way to escape the annoyance of cranky kids fighting with each other in close quarters than to bring them to the gym where I can escape and work out with my friends while they play with theirs? We did this. A lot. A whole lot. It's easy to maintain being a size zero when you live at the gym. Not so much when you never go. At first when we moved, I was just too busy unpacking and getting settled to get to there. Now I'm just too content. My house is big and spacious, the kids have room to play. I would much rather be at home baking or decorating while the kids play contentedly upstairs than drag them out just to get a mediocre workout in a room full of strangers. This is not working so well for me. I am not one of those who is blessed with a good metabolism. I eat a brownie, my jeans don't fit the next day. Period. I am currently like a sausage, squeezing my no longer a size zero butt into my size zero jeans because I refuse to accept the fact that this is the new me. You know the term "fat and happy"? It doesn't exist. Not for me. Happiness may be what leads to fatness, but with fatness there is no happiness. So there. I may have to find new ways to get myself motivated and keep it interesting, but deep inside, there is still that love of working out and the adrenaline rush that comes with it and I refuse to let it die. And more importantly, I refuse to succumb to mom jeans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2, 4 and 6

It's been so long, that it's time for an update on the girls. Enough said.

Emma is in 1st grade and is loving life. She still has her moments of jealousy towards Madeline and complete attitude, but overall she's extremely happy. For the first time since Claire was born, Emma has her own room. She is in her glory. The walls are all decorated with her artwork and the night table is piled high with her books. When she gets tired or overwhelmed, she loves to just escape to her room. She is such an introvert, and it has been great for her to have that space to herself. She can sit up there for hours crafting at her desk or reading to herself. She has developed a love of reading...she reads chapter books (the Rainbow Fairy series is her fave!) and reads long stories to her sisters at night. She also holds a school/camp for them that is hilarious. She reads to them, does crafts with them, teaches them and throws some exercise in every now and then :) She is in the art club at school and is absolutely loving it. She is begging to take piano lessons also. These two things are perfect for her...she has always had such a strong creative side. She rides the bus and does all of those little "Miss Mary Mack" type hand gesture songs that little girls do...it amazed me how many she has learned and how quickly she can sing them and do the motions. Madeline is loving learning them from her. Her best friend is Isabella. They sit together on the bus, have playdates after school and go to Kingdom Kids together. I am so thankful that she has found a good friend and one that lives three houses away. Since we've moved, Ryan has started the habit of reading the Bible with her at bedtime and I love to overhear them during that time....it is so precious to me. She has (finally!) developed an obsession with American Girl and I cannot wait to start Christmas shopping for her this year! Her top two teeth are wiggly and the one on the left looks like it will fall out any day. The shift in her teeth because of the looseness is changing her appearance and making her look older :( She's a sweet little girl who's sometimes unsure of herself and needs a little extra love :)

Madeline is her usual happy go lucky self. She is absolutely in love with being in school...she would move right in if she could. The four day weekends are hard for her...she asks everyday how soon she can go back. Of anyone, Madeline is the one who missed Florida the most. She misses her friends (Layla to be specific) and the things that are familiar to her. Every now and then she asks why we will live here for a long time and not go back. It breaks my heart that she is such a lover and misses everyone, but I draw peace from the fact that she is little and resilient. She has a love/hate relationship with the fact that she now shares a room with Claire. She begs for her own room because Emma has her own room and often thinks that she does have her own room and Claire is just sleeping over. Some mornings, however, she is the one to get Claire out of her crib (I have no idea how and I don't ask) and bring her down to see Mommy and Daddy when they wake up and it is so sweet to hear her early morning whispers to her baby sister as she cares for her. She is addicted to texting (sorry Norma!) and texts everyone she knows. She has mastered a few words and uses emojicons or my spelling help to fill in when she needs it. She still loves to journal and every page is basically the same...mom, dad, emma, madeline, claire, boyd, love, layla and sometimes a little bit of "matthew" thrown in there. She's obsessed with numbers. She sits at the dinner table just blurting out random numbers or asking for the answers to addition or math problems. She has mastered a few of the basics and loves to write them out on paper or just talk about them in conversation. She is completely silly, she is in love with her daddy, she dressed herself the minutes she gets up everyday and stands in front of the mirror brushing her hair. She is still as compliant as ever and just wants to please and do what's right. She loves big and she loves hard and she's completely unwavering.

Claire. Oh my goodness Claire. She is hilarous. Being the baby of the family is starting to rear it's head in her. She knows that she is adored and she has a captive audience and uses it to her full advantage. The dinner table is like the Claire Show. She goes absolutely crazy singing, dancing, making funny faces and she has the four of us laughing hysterically. She even likes to crack jokes. When Ryan leaves for work in the morning, you can see the wheels turning in her head and then she'll blurt out something like "Bye baby bottle!" and then give a little smirk. We are constantly cracking up because of her and I am constantly amazed that a two year old can be so intentionally funny. She is doing great walking and going up and down the stairs. There are plenty stairs in the new house for her to practice on. She has even started to run...she has a funny way of pumping only her right arm when she runs...looks oddly cute :) She talks up a storm and apparently has developed a raspy little voice that is so perfectly squeaky and cute. She is in love with Uncle Nate and would move in with him if given the chance. She is terrified of the potty, she uses her "ninny" sometimes but knows she doesn't need it and the things that she hates most in the world is time out. If she won't stop being naughty, all I have to do is even mention the words time out. In her little world, there is nothing worse than being in the corner. How can you be the life of the party when you are in the corner? She loves her daddy to death and the worst part of her day is when Madeline gets to go in his car to go to school and she doesn't. It drives her insane. Literally. I love the hours that Mad is at school and I am alone in the house with Claire (and not just because she's asleep for most of it!), but because for that short amount of time that she is awake, I get to focus all of my attention on my baby girl.

So there you have it...sassy, sweet and silly...between all three girls, we've got all the bases covered and I wouldn't trade them for the world!!

life interrupted

It's 2am and thanks to Jill's delicious holiday edition coffee, I cannot sleep. This is the time of night that I lie in bed and my mind starts thinking in "blog speak"...so here I am. Almost four months and a thousand miles away from my last post. We talked at bible study tonight about Jonah and what it means when your life is interrupted. Last time I wrote, I had no idea that in just a few months I would be living in NJ. Sure, it was a thought that I knew was in the back of our (Ryan's) mind, but I honestly had no idea that God had more immediate plans for us. Man, am I thankful that He did. The life I left behind in Fort Myers was amazing. What I thought was perfect. I remember many times (probably every day) thinking about how much I loved my life and nothing could get better...a dangerous place to be, I realized, because when you are on top, you can only go down. Or you can go to New Jersey :) Although I left behind many places and people that were precious to me (and whom I miss dearly)...life is more full now than it was before and I didn't even know that was possible.
For someone who is always on the go and who's calendar was always full, I have been relishing the simple life and it has made all the difference. While I once ran around all day (literally and figuratively), I now enjoy just being home....cleaning, cooking, baking (not so good for my figure or the fact that apparently leggings are considered pants in the fall/winter wardrobe), and taking care of my family. Without the stress and tension of always being on the go (and always being in public with way tooo many kids by my side), I have become a much more patient mother....the overwhelming need to lose your cool with your kids is a lot less urgent when you are at home than when they are throwing a tantrum in Target. :) While I gave up living "semi-near" my family, seeing them for short spurts and quick overnight trips every now and then, I traded that for long, meaningful visits with them. We had such great visits this month and I can't wait until they all come back! One of my biggest desires in life has always been for Ryan and I to have friends that are as close as family...we topped that. We have actual family that are close friends. I am loving living near Rachel, Nate, Jodi and the kids. I am loving it so much that I deliver soft pretzels to the office every week just to see them. I am loving it so much that I am baking for them while they watch the game with Ryan on Sundays just because I'm thrilled that they are here. I love that Nate and Rach are the girls favorite people in the world right now and that it makes their day when they see one of them! I love that Emma went from a school that refused to offer her speech therapy to a school that not only recognized her need, but is one of the ONLY schools around that has a therapist who's specialty is stuttering (this is so rare, and such a gift from the Lord). I am so glad that I have been blessed with friends here...that over the past few years through facebook and blogging, I have reconnected with long lost friends that have made this transition so much easier for me. I am thankful for Sara and for how much we have in common. We have so many of the same interests and I feel like our minds just work the same way. I am loving the time that I get to spend with her and her adorable kids. I am thankful for Jill and the common bond we have in our love for the Lord and how she has been able to get me plugged in here so quickly. I am thankful for Beth and the ease of friendship that comes with knowing someone for such a long time. I am thankful for the girls that I am just meeting that I feel will become close friends over time. I love the gorgeous red leaves on the tree outside my bedroom window and the beauty of fall. So yes, here I sit, a shocking thousand miles away from my last post. On the same computer, yet in a place I never imagined. And my life is more blessed than I could have dreamed because of it.