Sunday, February 15, 2015

Starting Anew....

Over the Christmas break, I tried to really reflect on my life and how January was a chance to start anew.  My life feels like a three ring circus a lot of the time so I think, overtime, I just got rid of things that made it hard for me to manage the chaos.  One of the things I dropped was the blog and I have missed doing it!  I thought about it so much over the last year or so and how I could make it work within my schedule and kids schedules. Plus, my precious babies are growing up and life, sadly, does not offer up enough time to pause and watch them how they are today!  But a blog can freeze their sweet faces, brief moments of their lives that I feel like I'm missing all the time!  So here's a brief update on each of much has happened in their lives!!!

Brady is weeks away from 6 years old!  6 YEARS OLD!!!  When did this happen?!??!  The most poignant change in his lives, and ours, was that he started school in August!  I sent my teeny, tiny baby out into the cold, cruel world (I'm dramatic) and it's been the hardest parenting decision I have made to date.  The summer before school started felt like a 3 month long internal wrestling match.  I went back and forth about school and home school and back to school until I, literally, couldn't think anymore.  In my heart, I wanted to keep him here forever, but I never felt super comfortable with the idea of homeschooling.  Whether it's because of my weaknesses (ie patience) or because the Lord needed him to be bright light for his friends, I just couldn't make homeschooling feel good.  So we sent him off to school and it was easily the hardest day for me and the kids.  I cried the night before, I woke up and cried.  I wiped away my tears long enough to help him get dressed and feed him breakfast.  I drove him to school that morning and felt like my heart was broken a little.  Having children means that a piece of you is living outside of yourself and when I watched this little guy walk into that big school, i watched a piece of my heart walk away.  It was a tough one for me.  I came home and cried.  Called my mom and we cried.  Talked to Nick and I cried some more.  But, after a few weeks of adjustment for all of us, he was loving it!  He is really excelling at school.  As a parent, you think your kids are the smartest, most beautiful people on earth.  But to hear other people say those things about your kids really makes all your time, efforts, prayers and tears worth it!  Brady's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Little, just so happened to be a high school friend of my mom's.  That instantly put me at ease!  She is kind and thoughtful.  While Brady was adjusting to this new schedule, she was very strict, but always reassured him that he was good!  That won Brady over and us!  He's reading like a machine these days.  He's reading everything....I mean everything.  He reads every sign we pass, every book/magazine in every doctors office.  He is so proud and is reading well above his grade level.  I got volunteered trained and get to go into his classroom every week.  It's some of the best times of my week.  I get to see him in his element, meet his friends, help them with projects and just be a presence in the school.  That presence wins you A LOT of bonus points with the staff and they really start to love your child.  I felt like if I did anything this year for Brady, I wanted to make everyone who crossed his path to see him as we see him.  Besides school, Brady has gotten really into Pokemon and minecraft.  I don't know how these kids learn about this stuff, it certainly wasn't from us.  So we have checked out a lot of books from the library so we can merge his love of reading with the things he loves to do. The ipad started to become a real source of tension in our home so we limited him to only playing on Saturday for 90 minutes.  With these new hobbies, he hardly even asks us anymore.  It's been such a relief to see him doing other things!   He played soccer again this fall, his third season, and did really well.  He's getting so good and has declared it his favorite sport. On January 15, we celebrated his 6th birthday and it hardly feels possible that he's that old.  I still vividly remember waking up next to this hospital isollette and thinking, "OH MY GOSH, I AM A MOM!!!"  He was so small and beautiful and I just couldn't believe that he was mine.  We usually do parties on their even birthdays but he didn't want one this year.  He had a list of activities that he wanted to do instead.  The cutest thing is that they all centered around his family and that better illustrates who Brady is.  He is a sensitive and kind and FIERCELY loyal to us!  He takes his role of big brother very seriously, sometimes too seriously, but he's happiest at home with all of us there together.  He's my sweet little man and I couldn't be more proud of him!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

February (still catching up....)

February was a tough month in our house.  We were passing around a pretty yucky bug.  Brady got it first and then the passing around began.  Somehow I got it twice so I was sick most of February......not fun!  But Avery got it the worst.  She has been so healthy, generally, but when she gets sick she really gets hit hard.  This bug pretty much knocked her out.  So.....I had a grumpy girl for almost two weeks.
sick little sweetie pie
It was frustrating for me because I love holidays - all of them.  I see each one as a chance shake up the humdrum of the daily routine and just doing something fun.  I especially love Valentine's Day because I feel so loved in my own life and love my kids and husband so much!  It's fun to create special things for them.  Anyway, this year I decided to do a Cupid's Countdown to Valentines Day.  I have had this cute Valentine's Day box for years and would always display it but this year I thought I would hide little presents in it each night and have the kids find them in the morning.  They would be from Cupid.  To pull the whole thing together, I wrote this poem and left it out on our kitchen table for them to wake up to on February 1st with their first treats.
The poem reads:
Each new day when you awake
Open the box with the heart.
Lots of surprises as we count down,
To the day of love...but here's the best part!

You don't need a day to celebrate love,
Because you are loved every single one.
But Mom and Dad asked me to help
Show you loving each other is fun!

Valentine's Day is coming fast
So make sure to be kind and sweet.
Because if you are kind every day,
There will be fourteen days of special treats!!

 the setup


the play by play of day one

I didn't want to think that Cupid was the only source of fun and love so Nick and I also wrote one thing we loved about our kids everyday on a heart and left it on their door for them to wake up to.  It was really fun....even amongst the sicknesses.  I did our door for Nick and he surprised me with some as well on my mirror!  It was awesome to do and the kids would run to their doors every morning and ask me what the new heart said!  It's a new tradition that we will definitely continue. 

We made these for all the grandparents.  There is nothing more fun to my kids than crafts.  They love glue, paint, crayons and mess!  So this was a quick and fun little token of our love for the grandparents.

 Sunday before Valentines Day

Other than Valentines Day festivities, we didn't do much. I pretty much held my kids until they were better!  Here are a few shots from the rest of our month.
 cutest baby in the world (don't you hate when mom's write that..)


sickies watching tv

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

January 2013

We made it through Christmas and New Years and before we have time to catch our breath, it's time for Brady's birthday!  Now, I want it in writing that I love celebrating my kids birthdays. I may sweat, get stressed, complain, etc but I really, really do love everything about celebrating each of their little lives.  To me, these children are miracles.  It is inconceivable to most people that know me that I have three, healthy children after having a transplant.  It is inconceivable to a lot of doctors out there.  So celebrating their lives is more than cake and presents.  It's a party full of love and gratitude for their existence.  It is days full of tears and joy that I get to focus on them, stand back, and smile knowing that Heavenly Father sent them to me.  So, I really do LOVE celebrating birthdays!  Having said that, I am an over achiever.  I am a self-proclaimed, type A control freak.  When I get my mind set on something, I will make it happen no matter what.  We only do big, friend parties on their even birthdays so, knowing that Brady would be turning four, the wheels starting turning.  Next to angry birds, the thing Brady loves the most is Lightening McQueen.  So I started planning his party around this theme down to the tiniest of details.  I wanted him to walk in the room and be completely blown away.  Doing that takes a lot of work and I am not a mother that has a lot of time.  Between the three itty bitty's, I also, at this point, was teaching 15 students(I now have 18).  These are my choices, so I am not complaining, but I only have spurts of time to get things done and I almost always have the kids in tow.  So, getting this party together the way I wanted to do it was kind of stressful.  But Brady is worth it to me.  He is the kind of kid that makes you want to squeeze him to death because he is either bringing you so much joy you can't stand it or he is frustrating you to no end.  He is very smart, a thinker, and he talks non-stop.  LITERALLY!!!!!  He questions everything in the world around him which intrigues me and drives me batty!  But he's mine and I love his guts and I want to make him happy.  I want to create moments for him and all my kids.  So we were going to have a Cars party and it was going to be AWESOME!!!  But more on that later!
On his actual birthday, he woke up and got to choose what he wanted for breakfast.  I always ask the day before, of course, so I actually have what he wants.  Brady boy wanted pancakes with strawberries and whip cream.  Smart boy!!  So I  made him some pancakes, cut berries and started his cake for later while he talked to us about all his birthday plans/wishes.  Here's a cute little video of our boy!

 Later that evening, my parents came over for cake and ice cream and gifts.  I made a confetti bundt cake with cream cheese frosting.  Nick's favorite cake is a bundt cake so now Brady asks for the cake with the hole in it!  It's pretty cute!  We sang, we ate, and he got to open a couple gifts from my parents. 
 Now for the party..........we had it in my parents basement because it's just a great space.  It's big and open, has a kitchen a's basically a great party space.  So the day before, between piano lessons, I went to my mom's and made a "pit crew" area using trash bags and yellow duct tape.  I found a ton of printables online for the food signs, etc. 
Flo's V8 Cafe
  • Stoplight Brownies
  • Dipsticks (Chocolate covered pretzel rods)
  • McQueen's Meatballs
  • Francisco's Fruit Platter
  • Mater's Mac 'n Cheese
  • Sally's Salsa & Chips

 This is the food table of or "Flow's V8 Cafe"
 Mater's Mac 'n Cheese

 I made Brady's cake.  I opted for a texas sheet cake instead of making a cake in the shape of Lightning McQueen.  Super easy, super cute!
 Here's our pit crew

 Brady & Mommy

 Harris Girls

 Aunt Becca & Brooklyn

 Savannah Cook

Ruby Dickson

 Kids waiting for their goodie bags.  Red cellophane bags with cars stickers and cars candy.  Super easy, super cute. (Do you see a theme here?!?!?!)

We did play a couple of games.  Of course, we had to play red light/green light.  I put the dad's in charge of that outside.  Then in side be played musical cars.  Basically, I gather a bunch of Brady's matchbox cars, put them in the center of the room.  Then I played "Life is a Highway" and when the music stopped, the kids had to grab a car.  Whoever didn't get a car was out and so on and so forth.  It was a party favorite.  I think we played 17 millions rounds of it!  The party was awesome and fun and Brady had a blast.  That's all the matters, right?  
At four years old, Brady is bright, happy, smart as a whip, talkative and kind.  As this is my families record, I want to jot down some things about my boy that I don't ever want to forget. 
  1. Tells me at least once a day how beautiful I am and that he loves me. 
  2. His preschool teacher said that he sets the tone for the entire class and his kindness is the defining characteristic.  
  3. At parent/teacher conferences, Brady was already trying to read and could spell and write his name, recall our phone number and address, and struggled with writing numbers.
  4. He loves being a big brother and takes great pride in caring for them.......that's when he's not trying to wrestle them to the ground and bug them incessantly!
  5. He loves dinosaurs.  He loves learning about them to the very minutest details like how big their eggs are.
  6. He's very social and wants to get to know everyone.  Not just say hi, he wants to get to know you, as much as he can!  It's pretty amazing!
  7. At his wellness visit he was fourty inches tall and fourty pounds.
We love Brady so much.  He is sweeter than I can take credit for and fills our house with laughter.  Happy Birthday to our big boy!