Saturday, December 26, 2015

merry christmas 2015


Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

oops! there went november {happy 5th birthday, dear tatum}

My mom asked me the other day if I had blogged Tatum's birthday. I've posted few and far between this last year, I actually wrote more when I was working! 
I had to actually look at my blog because I thought surely I had posted at least once last month.
Oops! Nothing. There went November! A lot of birthdays happen for us in November-my mother-in-law, Tatum, my sister-in-law, my father-in-law and Erik! That's enough to wear a person out just thinking about it! 
I am so grateful to each and every one of them, more than they know.
Happy November Birthday's Family, I love you!
And to make sure that I officially stamp Tatum's 5th birthday in time, I'm writing about it now. Her birth story is magical to me to this day. I have all 4 children to create a baby book for, so this is my temporary place holder. Time to print my past blogs, too!

Tatum's Favorite Color: Bright Blue
Tatum's Favorite Food: Pizza
Tatum's Favorite Things to Play: Baby Dolls
What I'm Most Excited About Turning 5: Because I am excited to go to Disneyland with Daddy because I'm finally tall enough.
What I Love: My stuffed animals, Anna, Kieran, Daddy, Murray, Liam and you (certainly not in this order. ;)).
Tatum's Favorite Holiday: Halloween. (Me: Halloween, really? Tatum: Okay, Christmas. Me: That's more like it.)
Tatum's Favorite Flower: Sunflower.
Tatum's Favorite Thing to do at School: Play with my friends and do choice time.
Any other Favorites? I like to visit Weezie and play at Charlie and Lily's house. (Our daycare provider and her grandchildren).

And, this has become one of MY fast favorites:

We had our family pictures taken for the very first time by my high school classmate and wonderfully talented friend, Courtney. She and her husband are true artists! Our family photos each year are taken by me with our remote shutter, so it was extremely special to me to have them professionally done and by a friend!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Tatum. 5 years old and still so small (3rd percentile for height and 8th for weight), but a heart larger than life.
Thank you for blessing me with all that you are, my special girl. 
I will always give you "all of the kisses" and take yours, too.


Monday, October 26, 2015

i went to the pumpkin lot and all i got... {pumpkin "patch" 2015}

I don't typically post a lot of unhappy pictures. And as devastating as this one seems...
I promise she was smiling just minutes before and laughing her head off just seconds later.
Tatum was crying because I wouldn't let her go on the giant inflatable lion slide. I watched a mom staring at us while we wheeled the wagon out to the car. She was either thinking, "glad that's not me" or "what is wrong with that mom that that poor child is that upset?". I'd like to think it's the former and not the latter. I didn't care either way, but by the look on Tatum's face, you would have thought something terrible had happened. I guess in her world, it did. ;)

I told all 3 of them (Kieran did not want to go to the pumpkin lot and Erik was out of town), that we were going just for pumpkins and not for the rides. After a weekend of soccer and basketball games on both days back to back, a quick pitstop was all I had left.

All I could think of was Charlie Brown saying, "I went trick or treating and all I got was a bag of rocks."Tatum really wanted to go on that slide and I felt like she was thinking, "I went to the pumpkin lot and all I got was a pumpkin and a ride in a wagon."

Pumpkin lot, what's a pumpkin lot?
A dirt lot filled with haystacks and pumpkins placed on top.
And it's not that we haven't gone to this lot before, it's just that I love going with the whole family (when we visit my parents) to a REAL farm! 

You know, the ones where they have GIANT wooly cows with horns.

Or where the pumpkins are actually still on the ground where they were grown!

We go through the corn maze and on the slides there, too, but most of the time is spent searching for the pumpkins, eating lunch and enjoying the scenery and each other's company. It doesn't feel crowded because there is so much land and everyone is spread out.

No farm, no inflatable slides, just a picture with hay up Tatum's nose (she did that on purpose)...

 laughing because I asked her to take the hay out of her nose...

sticking her tongue out at me when I asked for a picture (that's karma because I used to and sometimes still do this to my mom)...

and fake smiling (Liam is cooperating and Anna has now followed suit with sticking out her tongue).

All in all they were grateful that they picked out their pumpkins, I'm grateful that I stuck to my guns and didn't give in to the travesty of not going on the lion slide,

  and next year we're going as a whole family back to the farm!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

three {happy birthday, dear liam}

Dearest Liam,
Today we celebrated your 3rd birthday. 
It was a very small party, but you didn't care. 
You were just happy as you are each day you wake.

Each morning, the sun greets us. While there may be people in the world who do not realize this miracle, you meet each day with complete and utter gratitude.
Each morning, you wake and I hear the chitter-chatter to yourself (and most recently, to Spiderman). 

Then, ever so quietly, the door cracks open and you peer out, you open the door and then you come running into my arms. 
"Good morning, Mommy!", you shout. 
You give me a hug and a kiss and you are off to start the rest of your routine.

I'm often rushed. Rushed for time. Rushed to go from one place to the next. Rushed to get everything done. And then there's you, all 37 pounds in the 91 percentile of you!
You remind me what it means to give thanks, be it a birthday party or the rise of the morning sun.
Each day is a precious one, no matter how big or how small.
There are bumps in the road, uncertainties in our lives, trying times and though you don't understand at just three years of age what these times are like, I feel it in my heart that when you do, you will face them with grace.
Liam-guardian and protector, Erik-honorable, eternal ruler.
See, you really are a real life Spiderman!

Recently, I watched an interview by the former President and Jesuit priest of the University that your nonno, daddy, aunt, uncle and I attended. In his interview he reminded us that, "we all have to find hope somewhere". You, my sweet Liam are part of that hope. 
You teach me in ways that I never knew imaginable.

Thank you for helping me to pause, reminding me to slow down, and teaching me, and all who know you that life is a gift and truly...
a celebration!

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

last but not least {back to school 2015 part 4}

Okay, so it's really not part 4, it's part 2 for Back to School, but since Liam is the 4th child, you get it. 
We didn't think when we set out on this journey that we'd have double the number of little ones that we had first dreamt about.
While there are days that present their challenges, four is truly a wonderful, wonderful blessing!
This boy was over the moon excited to go to his very first day of school after seeing his older siblings get to go!
 He is a big eater and I mean a BIG eater and he didn't even eat his lunch today. He was THAT excited! He thanked his teacher on his own (my Lord, he has the best manners!) and then proceeded to ask me for his bagel. I just think he was so thrilled with his day, not even eating was going to get in the way. 
If ever I am upset, Liam will say, "Mommy, you happy? Be happy!" He is completely in tune with his emotions and the emotions of others and has a way with knowing just how to make anyone feel better.
I simply cannot imagine our lives without him.
Liam, may the days be long and filled with happiness, for that is what you bring to our lives.
Cheers to your very first day of school!
You are last, but not least, 
and that makes me happy.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

and if i hold the shutter down...{back to school 2015}

Another summer gone by, another school year starting. 
The summer itself was a bit uneventful, and had I to do it over again, I'd have done things differently. Sometimes it is nice to just do nothing, and other times doing nothing can feel like there aren't enough memories being created for the bank. At least that's how it feels to me anyway. 
In my leave of absence from my job last school year, I didn't allow myself to be free. And again, if I had to do it over again, I'd have done things differently. 
It's hard to let go of something that is such a part of who you are and what you give to the world.
This school year is the first year that I can ever remember (especially while working), that I wanted to move on. I wanted summer to end. I want to move forward...
for them.
I want to move forward...
for me. 
I cannot and will not let myself live in "what life used to be like" land. Rather, I want to live in what life is like now, and all that I can dream it to be.
I want to see her shine like a star.
I want to be fully present,
as he inches closer and closer to his middle school years. I still cannot even believe that he is in the 4th grade and I know that it only goes quicker and quicker.
And after reading The Kissing Hand with her teacher on her first day of TK, I want her to know that I'm really home, not just the shell of me that I felt like last year.

"Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, 'Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you'." -The Kissing Hand
I want to savor the moment that she savored in this picture, proud of the name tag she wore and the one she made.
I make sure to catch the fine details-like shoes.

 Not the brand of shoes, but the fact that these shoes once started off as just tiny little baby feet.
Now they wear high the second grade.
And then, there's always a necessary capture from behind,
when they don't know I'm there.
I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to be present for them. I'm ready to grow and change for me!
And if, just maybe...
if I hold the shutter down, time will stand still but for a moment.

Friday, August 7, 2015

we're not in july anymore...{flashback friday, fourth of july}

We're not in July anymore...I wish it was, so that I could rewind to have a Summer "do over". I love the swim team season, but it can be so time consuming that it leaves us with mostly that and not a lot of vacations. So, it's a flashback Friday to the fourth of July and I hope we can squeeze in one more trip before it's back to school.
We had many thunderstorms,
but a few breaks in the weather.
It's next to near impossible...
to not relax and take in this view.
We weren't sure what the 4th would have in store because in the morning, we woke up to this:
hail on the 4th of July!
Liam thought we might need
a life jacket on land.
I was able to get some shots of the kids,
and this was the best I could get of Anna because she wasn't totally in to getting her picture taken.
Then there's my little Tatum,
who is such
 a giggly little thing.
And then there's these two little peas in a pod,
that remind me of these "used to be" two little peas in a pod...

and then my heart REALLY aches.
It aches for the time I'd give to go back to when the first two were little when they rarely fought. I relish in the times now where they still get along, they really do love each other. It's just different than it used to be! My heart also aches with an overwhelming amount of thankfulness for the four healthy littles I have now. When they all get along, it is magic.

My then four year old, is now my soon to be fourth grader and he is all kinds of complicated and wonderful. He had THE BEST time and according to him, this was the most fun he's EVER had because he got to spend it with Aunt Jessica (Erik's sister).
We don't get to see Aunt Jessica very often so Kieran was over the moon!

There's this guy,
who is my everything. I rarely get to be in pictures with him, but I made him take one.
And then there's this guy...
who keeps us on our toes. Murray is a handful and then some, but I cannot imagine our family without him.
We got in a quick little hike,
before turning back from the lightning.
We still got to see the fireworks
from our awesome view at the top of our mountain!
We had one sunny day...
 on the beach.
Playing in the sand,


and drinking the most delicious rum runner (okay, that was just me). 
The kids went swimming,

and kayaking with Erik and Papa Drew.
I've got to get pictures with Grandma next time!

My funny boy...

and my tired boy.

It was such a beautiful day to enjoy
 God's creation!

Erik and I also got to go out without the littles...
a rarity and something we need to do more often!

We went mini-golfing and trampoline bungee jumping...

to watch!
Aunt Jessica brought her kitchen manager from her restaurant, Irais (say it with me...Ear/Eye/Ees),
who my kids adored. Tatum is wanting her to come over to her house today for a playdate. ;)
Such a fun weekend!
Until next time...

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