Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the magic of christmas

The magic of Christmas-it's my favorite time of year. I start listening to Christmas carols the day after Thanksgiving and continue listening to only carols the whole season. I don't get tired of them-the fun ones, the silly ones, the ones that give you chills. My favorite carol? I can't say that I have just one because I love so many, but I can say that I love any Christmas song by John Denver. Hokey, maybe, but I don't care. I still love a good John Denver tune.
 I grew up surrounded with folk music from my parents. Either listening to folk artists or listening to my parents playing the guitar, the piano or singing. Growing up, they were the head of the choir at church. They were the ones that were hired for weddings and funerals, they even sang at my wedding. Erik calls my mom the "church lady" ala Saturday Night Live. I have to admit, I get a good laugh from that, but I promise she's a lot better and I am thankful every day that my parents instilled in me a love for music. My only regret is that I don't play an instrument!  If you haven't heard any Christmas songs by John Denver, go listen.  Afterall, December 25 may have come and gone, but it is still the Christmas season! 
Our Christmas season is most complete for me when we travel to visit Erik's family and see the lights at CALM. This picture doesn't do it justice, it's only a small fraction of what you see and it's absolutely gorgeous!
"The light that shines for all to see...
the peace of Christmas day." -The Peace Carol

Anna, of course, was the first one up Christmas morning! She is usually one of, if not the last to sleep in on a regular morning, but Christmas? Where's the party?
"Find your heart...
open up both your eyes." -It's in Every One of us

Sometimes the sisters bicker, and other times be still my heart.

"See how much there is to give, see how strongly you believe...
see how much you may receive." -Aspenglow

Christmas would not be complete without tears (of joy, of course) from my mom.
"The season is upon us now, a time for gifts and giving...
and as the year draws to its close, I think about my living." -A Baby Just Like You

I decided this year we'd use the remote shutter to document that we were here without anyone having to have a camera in their hand. I need a lot more practice, but it's a start! It's the only one that has the six of us and we never did take a whole family photo other than our card-that's life.

"I don't know if you believe in Christmas, or if you have presents underneath the Christmas tree...
but if you believe in love, that will be more than enough, for you to come and celebrate with me."

We actually had a Christmas Eve Eve with my parents before they headed to my sister and brother-in-law's house this year. We have "big Christmas" every other year.

"Christmas is a time to come together, a time to put all differences aside...
and I reach out my hand to the family of man, to share the joy I feel at Christmas time." 

I just happened to steal this moment from my dad and Tatum. According to my mom, she knows Tatum loves her, but she'll drop her in seconds flat as soon as she sees her Nonno.  They have a really special bond.

"For I have held the precious gift that love brings, even though I've never saw a Christmas star...
 But I know there is a light, I have felt it burn inside and I can see it shining from afar."

We had a fairly quiet and calm Christmas morning and celebrated with Erik's parents. Liam loved seeing Papa in his space age ski goggles.

"For the truth that binds us all together, I would like to say a simple prayer...

that at this special time, you will have true peace of mind and love to last throughout the coming year." -A Christmas Wish

And of course, what would Christmas (or any day for that matter) be, without Liam getting into something he wasn't supposed to. I think he ate everyone's chocolate from Santa. #liamstrikesagain

"Perhaps love is like a window, perhaps an open door...
 it invites you to come closer, it wants to show you more". -Perhaps Love

Liam's big gift from Santa was his John Deere tractor, which everyone but Kieran and Erik have ridden so far. I may or may not have ridden it in the garage yesterday.

"It's tall in the saddle we spend Christmas Day, driving the cattle over snow covered plains...
So many gifts have been opened today...
ours is the sky,
 and the wide open range."

Okay, so no wide open range or snow, especially not inside the house, but riding an electric tractor was as close as I could come to riding a horse. ;)

When I was just a wee little boy, full of health and joy, 
One Christmas morning I received The Marvelous Little Toy.
A wonder to behold it was with many colors bright...
And the moment I laid eyes on it, it became my heart's delight." The Marvelous Little Toy 
(lyrics by Tom Paxton)

"That Peace on Earth fills up your time, that brotherhood surrounds you...
That you may know the warmth of love and wrap it all around you." -A Baby Just Like You

Our priest at our church spoke to all of us at family mass on Christmas Eve, he even wore a Christmas bow on his head for part of the mass. His message simple, but so powerful. While presents we give to others at Christmas can signify the gifts that were brought to Jesus by the Wise men, the true presents, the gift, the magic of Christmas is us. It is YOU! Jesus lives in us, in our hearts. We share this love and we give this gift to others. Father gave each child a Christmas bow to take home and instructed them to put the ribbons on their heads Christmas Day.

It's my absolute favorite picture...

"Music makes pictures and often tells stories, all of it magic and all of it true...
and all of the pictures and all of the stories, all of the magic, the music is you." -The Music is You's the magic of Christmas.

"Live, Jesus, in our hearts! Forever"-Lasallian Prayer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve

Glory to God 
in the highest,
& on Earth, 
good will
toward men.
Luke 2: 14

Merry Christmas Eve!
With Love,
Erik, Kristin, Kieran, Anna, Tatum, & Liam

Monday, December 15, 2014

just one

It's hard to remember what it was like with just one.
I wouldn't trade having four for the entire world, even on the craziest of crazy days, even when I feel like I'm going to lose my mind.
My four are my heart.
On a rainy Monday like today though, it's quiet.
The rest are in school. 
And so, it's a train kind of Monday.
Train tracks and potty training, that is...
with just one.

Monday, December 8, 2014

perfectly imperfect

It's not techically sound, it's grainy, the focus fell on Leo the Lion and not on him. The iso is cranked to the highest my crop sensor can go, and I had one quick shot to get while he slept so peacefully (with poop in his underpants...yes, I just said he was sleeping with poop in his underpants). 
I've taken a similar shot recently, it seems that while I try to keep things together as a stay-at-home-mom, a nap of my first born right on schedule, is similar yet so vastly different than that of my fourth.
My first born mom self would have woken up my baby...the audacity that any mother would leave her child on the floor, in poopy underpants no less.
My fourth born...why wake him? It would only ruin his nap time and how can I move him while he clutches Leo the Lion ever so sweetly?
I'm wanting to do these days differently, I often feel that I did them better as a part-time working mom. Today though, it was perfectly imperfect.
And I wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

happy birthday, dear tatum {tatum frances is four!}

Dearest Tatum Frances,
As always, the hands of time have moved far more quickly than I ever want them to as it seems that you were just placed into my arms.

birth photo credits: Melissa Larson

and instantly captured our hearts.

It's almost impossible to fathom that I went from writing about your first year, 

to your second,
to your third,
to now.
my beautiful,
sometimes used to be all the time shy,

four year old, Frozen loving girl.
How far you have come in four wonderful years! 
You are my little warrior. From your accident, to an adenoidectomy, then a tonsillectomy and finally learning with the right therapy how to eat, you are one tough cookie!
Tonight you said to me while eating pasta,
"Mommy, I'm going to eat all of this pasta so that when Daddy measures me, I can grow and then when I grow I can go on the airplane with Daddy to Disneyland to see Mickey and Minnie."
My sweet 2T wearing 4 year old girl, you are tiny in stature and so very big in heart.
Where you used to be afraid of preschool, you are now full of giggles, and the most funny, insightful and thoughtful conversations.
And though I'm sick of Frozen as is most of the adult world, just like Frozen, you prove to me daily that LOVE conquers all.
Your love,
shines through,
 and weathers any storm.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Tatum Frances.
Daddy and I, Kieran, Anna, Liam and Murray love you so very, very, much.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

two {happy birthday, dear liam}

In an instant, you turned two. 
When I think of you, I think smiles and laughter, hear smiles and laughter, see smiles and laughter.
You have this way about you, everyone notices, and I as your mother can tell you, they are right.
You comfort others with your happiness. 
I've been witness to this first hand, in my own times of sadness or uncertainty and I've seen it from perfect strangers. 
You can create a smile for anyone, where one did not previously exist.
You are full of endless hugs, and oh, how they are Heaven on Earth!
I love:
-how you have gone to sleep since a tiny baby with ease, simply by listening to your musical turtle and watching the waves of light on the ceiling
-how you love your stuffed animals so that the fur is worn to the tune of the Velveteen Rabbit
-how you love your siblings and comfort them, laugh with them, tickle them
-how you decided that you would start potty training three weeks before you actually turned two (yes!)
-how you call your binky, your "kiki", the last remnant of your babyhood that will hang on a bit longer while we potty train
-how you don't have the clearest of speech, but you have a lot to say and I can understand exactly what you are saying (Mama/Baby speak)
-how you wake up every morning with a smile, enter our room and say, "Hi, Ma!" "Hi Da-ee!" and proceed to wake up your brother and sisters with a similar greeting
-how it doesn't take much to make you happy, we can just sit in our court and watch the PG&E truck and you are pleased as punch
-how you want to do everything that your sisters and brother do because you believe you are just as big as they are
-how you wave and smile to everyone, wherever we go
-how you look at the world with wonder, it makes me see everything fresh and new through your eyes
-how you giggle with me and snuggle with me, every chance you get
-how you barge into our bedroom full speed ahead to say goodnight to Daddy and give him the most special of bear hugs
-how you and Tatum have a special bond because you are so close in age, you are so big that you're often mistaken as twins
-how you eat almost everything (you don't like hotdogs or hamburgers, but that's fine with me!)
-how you love the water and love to swim
-how you can make a mess out of ANYTHING...well, maybe I don't love that part, but it's you and I love all of you
-how you love to DANCE!
My sweet boy, may you continue this bright path you've begun, bringing joy to others. I know it brings joy to you!
God gave us each a little piece of Heaven when he gave us you.
Happy Birthday, Liam Erik!
You may be two, but my heart will forever know you as my baby boy.
Smile on, laugh on, love on, dance on, my son!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

saying goodbye is never easy, even to those with fur

This morning, Kieran hand fed Dreyfuss his kale and a few carrots. We had some extra time and he made sure that he ate everything before we left. 
Dreyfuss has not gotten out of his cage during the day very often since we brought home Murray, but he's been sneaking  some hops in at night when Murray is in his crate and covered for the night. 
Tonight, he had come out, and my sweet Tatum was sitting next to him while he let her pet him. She played with him ever so sweetly.
I grabbed my phone from upstairs to take a picture of the two of them, but by the time I came back down, the photo op was gone as he had hopped away, but it's still in my heart. Then, we all went upstairs to do baths, book and bed.
Every one of my babies has come home to Dreyfuss when they were born. I have pictures with each of them with him, there's just too many tears to find them right now.
A Holland Lop, the movie Mr. Holland's Opus, Mr. Holland played by Richard Dreyfuss...Dreyfuss.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but my sweet furry friend who has given us unconditional love for 13 years (yes, a 13 year old rabbit) went quietly in his sleep this evening after the kids had played with him and gone to bed.
He wasn't sick at all, he just lived an amazing rabbit life...
and I'm missing him so dearly, already.

Monday, September 22, 2014

a little each day, not a lot!

It wasn't nap time yet, I promise!
I've been back in my groove and trying to clean, get organized and take back control over all the things that fell a mess while working. I'm doing great so far, but I'm pretty sure the message was loud and clear on Liam's part...
he was so bored, it seemed like the perfect time to take a nap!
Monday's lesson: Do a little each day, so I have more time to play!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

it's all how you look at it {life lessons through soccer}

Soccer season has officially started...
and I'm officially a Stay-at-Home Mama for a year!
I'm having a difficult time trying to separate myself from my job as a school counselor, I feel as though I am on the outside looking in on someone else's life, almost as if a dream about not being able to start school on time because we couldn't get the scheduling completed.
Don't get me wrong, I am filled with gratitude that I am able to take this year off, I've never been able to be at home with my kids and it's a gift I never imagined would be possible! 
I've had the best of both worlds and I've often had to pinch myself because I love what I do as a school counselor, and I love being a mom. Working part-time (not really, but that's what the books say ;)), has been a great gig! I feel as though I've been on this train that has continued steadily down it's path, and while I haven't been derailed, the conductor finally chose to put me on another track. I know not the destination, except that I have to see things in a different way than I have been and I caught a glimpse of it through soccer, of all things. All of it, for me, applies to both of my jobs as a counselor and a mom, my marriage, my friendships and daily interactions.
In times of uncertainty...
light can always be found.
When you're trying to keep your opponent from scoring a goal while your team is winning 5-0 and you are the one that makes it 5-1, your coach if he's good (and he is),
still pats you on the back to let you know, "Hey, it's okay!"
When it's your turn to get into the game,
always let your teammate know that you are there for them even when they feel disappointment.
It's sometimes difficult,
but you have to be patient.
Tackle life head on, as if to say,
"You want a piece of me?" "I've got this, let's do it!"
Keep your eye on the prize...
life keeps moving whether you are on the train or not, stick with it, it's worth the ride.
Find a reason to smile,
even if you've lost.
When you smile,
it makes you feel better, along with others around you.
Don't forget to laugh...
it truly is the best medicine so whoever wrote that line was a genius.
Take a slice out of life,
and don't worry what others think.
Enjoy every last sweet, juicy, delicious bite,
as if it were your last, we're only here for a short while.
There's a song that's in my head, can't remember who wrote it, who sings it, but it goes:
"It's all how you look at it, all how you look at it, all how you look at it, it's really up to you".
Thank you, soccer season. Thank you, Family.
Let the journey begin!
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