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.
 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.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day!

 It started with coffee in bed.  Quietly hanging the banners the kids made into our bedroom while Wes was sleeping.  A few presents, and then a family day.
We went to Animal Land...and the kids had a blast.
When did they get so big?
 We enjoyed the petting zoo.
 And the safari ride was low key at first.
 Everyone wanted the view from Daddy's lap.
 Until the ostrich came calling.  And the ostrich wouldn't go away.  It was huge!
There were lots of giraffes too.
 And a place to feed deer, right up close. 
We had a great day.
I am truly blessed that my children have such an amazing father.
Happy Father's Day, Wesley.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

 We started a tradition of going to River Stone Manor for Mother's Day brunch.  Everyone gets dressed up, and there's only one seating so we have the table for the afternoon.  Fancy glasses, and cloth napkins and children on their best behavior.
It's always lovely.
I woke to presents, and kisses.
At school, Dani had made a vase and planted a seedling, that, after two days in a brown bag, was wilted and yellow.  But it was beautiful, sunny day, and with a little water and some sun, it perked up, and the kids have been able to watch it grow daily.
Even our little caveman managed his own full size silverware with no messes!
 After we ate, we walked the grounds.  We took this same picture last year.  I hope to take the same one every year.
 Getting everyone to look at the camera is generally impossible.
 We managed it for this one!
 Look at her.
 This one's my favorite.  Walking side by side.
Some days, I just look around, take a deep breath, and give silent thanks for the love of an amazing husband and three little sweeties.

Monday, April 28, 2014

To Tori, as you turn 4.

 They say the middle child is always the complicated one. 
I don't know if that's true.
But it must be hard to find your place in the family when someone is always older, and doing things before you, and someone is always younger and needing more attention.
But you handle it with grace, usually.
Little Tori, you are suddenly not-so-little.  You're at that point in your childhood where your pendulum swings from desperately wanting to be a big girl, doing things for yourself without help, to desperately wanting to be the baby, snuggly and dependent on us for the simplest things.
You're brave.  And loud.  And my, you are funny.
You can get away with murder because you are so damn adorable.  The kind of adorable that strangers remark about when we go out.
And like the nursery rhyme, you are the little girl, with the little curl, right in the middle of your forehead...and when you are good, you are very, very good, and when you are bad, well, we all know the rest.
You thought that you would get to go to school as soon as you turned four.  I know you're excited to ride the bus like your big sister, but you've got to be patient....patience doesn't come easy at your age.
As you've carved your niche in the family, you are excelling in being in the kitchen with me.  We baked your birthday cake together--you picked it out, and all the toppings.  You decorated it yourself (and it was beautiful!).  You're my expert egg cracker, batter mixer, and dinner helper.
You are a bolt of lightning when I walk through the door after work..."Mommeeeeeeeeeeeee's home!" followed by a full-on sprint to give me a hug.  (Unless there is something really good on TV, in which case I am invisible.)
If our family were a class, you'd be the class clown.  And you'd win best smile.
 You're the catalyst for chaos in the full of energy and silliness that Dani and Tommy can't help but follow you.  From your inexplicable and silly phrases, "I got a fruita in my toota" as you dance around shaking your booty, to your unparalleled couch bouncing ability, Daddy and I often have to turn our heads so the other kids don't see us giggling at your antics. 
In the middle of a tantrum, you demand "a hug and a kiss".  And you wrap your arms around me and hold me tight, as inside the toddler and big girl battle for dominance...sometimes it works and you calm down, other times, the toddler in you is stronger and the tantrum continues.
You, Tori are our brightest light, and our biggest challenge.
Keep diving in head first.
 And keep snuggling with me.
Happy birthday my sweet Tori.