Wednesday, January 7, 2015

10 years!

 Wes and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this October!  We had a (kid-free) overnight trip to Connecticut the weekend before our anniversary, which was awesome!  He surprised me with a ten diamond anniversary band that night.  I told him his gift would be late.
The cool news is that he was getting inducted into the University of Chicago Athletic Hall of Fame at the end of October.  He was an amazing college athlete--football and track.  He still holds the University records for the Hammer throw and the 35 pound weight throw.  He went to nationals every year of college (and would always bring me back a shot glass from the cities he went to!).
My plan was to do an extreme living room makeover while he was away. We had a rather sterile living room, with furniture that was way too small for him to get comfy in.  Here are the before pics:


 He left for work on Thursday night at 10:30pm.  He had a Friday morning flight and was returning at about 2pm Sunday.  Thursday night, I moved all of the furniture out of the room, washed the walls, and prepared for the makeover.
I wanted a Chicago Bears theme, but a subtle one--one that would not require repainting before we sold the house!  Deep colors are to be expected in a historic Victorian home such as ours, so it was perfect.  So, we started; one of my legal assistants spent the day painting while I assembled the new TV stand and made other preparations.  I needed to spray paint picture frames orange, and frame pictures of Wes and the kids wearing their Bears gear.  My other legal assistant held down the fort at the office, but had made awesome pillow covers in orange to add some color to the room!
 The furniture arrived on Saturday morning.  We painted, framed, hung art and new curtains, placed furniture, and it was done...almost!
 I needed the TV to be hooked up!  There was a Bears game to watch when he came home!  With some help from a friend, we extended cable and he managed to set everything up so that when Wes walked in the Bears game was on!  (Too bad they were losing.)
 He was pleasantly surprised by the finished product.
 I think it turned out pretty well!
 There's a huge sofa, but if Daddy's on the loveseat, the kids want to be too!
Mission accomplished.
Wes was surprised.
He loved the room.
I love him.
It all works.
 
I cannot top my written anniversary tribute to him from last year.  It's all been said.
 
The sentiments are still the same, the love only stronger.
Happy anniversary, my love.


Monday, October 13, 2014

First day of school!

Days before kindergarten started for Dani, we got the call:  our city would offer full-day Pre-K...but since the funding was new, the pre-k students would not start for a week or two while the district figured out the logistics.
 
So, Dani started kindergarten!  Tori was a bit bummed that she could not yet RIDE. THE. BUS. TO SCHOOL.
 
But Dani was stoked...with her light up Mario back pack.
Ten days later, it was time for Tori to go to school too!  A whole day means that she rides the bus with Dani and gets to do big kid things, like pack a lunch and forego naps!  Tommy looks excited in this picture but is woefully lost without the girls around.
 Dani was so excited for Tori's first day, that they agreed to dress the same!  And, every day that week they wanted to be "twinsies", wearing the same clothes to school. Dani was lecturing Tori about the importance of listening to the teacher, and behaving on the bus.
 Tori, meanwhile, had been dreaming about riding the school bus since she saw Dani do it a year ago!
 She mounted the stairs of the bus, with nary a look back.
 Peeked outside the window, and started her journey.

I'm sorry Tommy.

I'm sorry, Tommy.  You turned THREE nearly two months ago, and I'm finally getting around to telling everyone about it!  You turned 3!  We were so busy laughing with you that I forgot to post about it! 
For some stats...at 41 back breaking pounds and 41" in height, you beat your sisters at something, finally!
 
You are the most mercurial McGhee.  You can travel from outrageous laughter to stompy, pouty wailing in mere seconds.  You're, hands down, the best hugger--wrapping your arms around me and Daddy, ferociously, clinging to us as though your life depends on it, and holding on long enough for me to realize how fleeting this attention from you will be.
 
And, holy smokes, you're potty trained!  You were, by far, the easiest at this!  One day, you peed on the potty and the rest was history!  Nice work, little dude!
 
Handsome and smiley, you are our Tommy.  You insist you are not Thomas; nor Tom.  You embrace Tommy--that fun filled variant of your name...
Tori is your best pal.  You do everything you can to keep her interested in playing with you.
 
Tori's first day of Pre-K.  When she left, you spent the day clinging to Daddy, telling him how much you missed her and Dani.
 The king of comic relief...it is often a stretch to get you to pose for pictures without a silly face. 
 You know that ice cream is best eaten in only a diaper, in the sunshine.
 You love all things that drive.  When you aren't scooting around the house on a dump truck, you are pretending to drive!
 And, did I mention fearless?  You're the kid with the hand open feeding the goats, with your big sisters behind you watching to see what happens.
 Never one to shy away from a good tea party, you accessorize with clip on earrings and cheetah print feetie pajamas...while keeping it masculine with the Mario hat.
 You are the crack-up king---distracting Dani and Tori at meals while they laugh at your antics.   Sweet talking strangers wherever we go because you are just so friendly, and cute.
You, Tommy are our biggest bundle of energy, our little dude.  Our super, smiley light, that shines the brightest in the glow of your sisters, who adore you too!  Happy 3!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trip of a lifetime.

 I've got really cool parents.
They're fun.  Super fun.
And they've blossomed as grandparents.  They are so engaged with our kids.
Mom recently retired and they planned the trip of a lifetime.  They bought an RV, and headed east.  Their trip will ultimately take them across the country before heading back to NC.
They spent six days at the house, enjoying the pool and the sunshine.
Motorcycle rides.

 This is what the folks will call home for the next three months.
They left on a Monday with the girls, headed to Rhode Island.
Each of us have a special place--a place that holds memories, that we long for when we are not there.
For me, and my parents, it's the Charlestown Breachway in Rhode Island.
I spent the better part of every summer in a camper, just yards from the beach, playing on the beach, roasting marshmallows, making summertime friends that we'd see every year, and as I got older, flirting with the college park rangers and lifeguards.
There is no place that I would rather spend my time than this sleepy little beach town.
 I was so excited to get there, I convinced Wes that we should leave a day early.
This is the first picture of Tommy's first day at the ocean.  Dani and Tori, having arrived before us were happy to show us around.
 I didn't turn on my laptop once.
The kids didn't miss the lack of electronics.
They were too busy running in the surf and looking for hermit crabs in the breachway.
 Dancing in the ocean.
 Enjoying the glow of the evening sun, showing Grandma their hermit crabs.
 It was dinners out, and the freshest seafood.
Pleasantly wonderful manners too.
 The nightly post-dinner trip back to the beach, just to enjoy the sounds and the sand.
 Maybe the taste of the sand too?
 The smiles never left their faces.
 Ice cream at the end of a hot day.
 And the beginning of sunset while the waves crashed.
Chasing sea gulls.
 Throwing rocks.
 Beautiful sunsets.
 Family.
 The excitement of a door with a Tommy-sized window.
 Snacks at the picnic table.
 The feel of the sand between your toes.
 And just enjoying the love of family.
 Pretending to drive.
 Enjoying the sun.
 And back, for more hermit crabs.
 And then it was time to go, but it felt like we had just arrived.
Because time just kind of stops there.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a trip of a lifetime.
We love you.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pre-K doin's.

 I've always thought that things like pre-k graduations are so silly and unnecessary.  Logically, I buy into the idea that kids don't need participation trophies, and that we don't need to make up silly milestones for them.
Then, I had a kid in Pre-K.  I'm not saying I don't think it's silly, because it is.  And it's certainly unnecessary.  But, the kids all seemed pretty proud about graduating, and I'd be lying if I told you I didn't get teary during the ceremony.
It started with Dani being named "Pre-K Student of the Year" for her school.  This meant she got to attend a local baseball game and was recognized on the field--and got to run out onto the field with the home team.
She stayed out there for the National Anthem.  She was so proud.  And, it was pretty awesome, the whole family got to watch her from the stands.
 Two days later, it was Pre-K graduation.  Nothing like a hot summer night in an un-air conditioned elementary school cafeteria.
 Dani got to lead the assembly by holding the mic and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  (teary mommy)
 Look at this kid's face.  She's walking to receive her Pre-K "diploma".  She's beaming.
It's impossible not to be excited for her--because she's so excited about being ready for real school!
 Tori and Tommy managed to sit relatively still during the event.
 An attempt at a family photo was, as usual, like herding cats.  Tori is channeling her inner Bangles "Walk like an Egyptian" vibe.  This was the best, of many attempts.
It's amazing how fast this time flies.  Dani's headed to kindergarten.  Kindergarten!  (And Tori to Pre-K)
When we were driving to the Mohawks game, the night she was receiving the Student of the Year honor, she was in the back seat telling Tori, "To be the student of the year, you have to work hard and do your best every day in pre-k, Tori."
She is amazingly smart, and articulate for her age.  (I realize every parent says this.)
And, we're so proud of her.
 
A few kid sayings of late...
Some weeks ago, Tori hopped into the coveted second row minivan seat (that Dani had asked for) and when Dani protested, Tori's response was, "You snooze, you lose, kid."  (Thanks Grandma.)
Now, all three kids vie to be the first at anything so they can hurl the "you snooze you lose" taunt.
 
Last night I was talking to Dani and Tori about my parents' impending visit.  I was mentioning that there were a few things in the house that I wanted Grandpa to fix.  I told them that Grandpa could fix anything.  Dani disagreed.  "Grandpa can't fix people, mommy."
 
At dinner tonight, Tori announced that she would like to call me Bethany.  When I said no, she could call me mommy, she settled on mom, and told me if I were a balloon she would pop me.
 
Dani's favorite jokes to tell these days;
What do you call a cow with no legs?  Ground beef.
Why can't you hear a pterodactyl going to the bathroom?  Because the "p" is silent.