Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Happy 8th, Burl!

Burl turned 8 and we did 8,000 things to celebrate. 

Family came over, friends came over, we did something as a family, and we took the birthday boy out for a dinner with mom and dad only (my personal favorite). He chose Chili's. A few months ago, he got a coupon for a free kids meal (pizza + fries) and we learned that they provide tablets and games at the table. It was the "best restaurant ever." 

He was non-stop talking and questioning and loved the attention. We walked to ice cream after that. On the way we passed downtown condos and saw an old man in his bedroom on the ground floor and he was totally naked. We saw his bottom crack, and for an 8 year old-that's better than ice cream! 

I had some great ideas for some minute-to-win-it style games, so I made his friends do those. It was so much fun and we all laughed. 

To top off the 8 year old goofiness, I labeled all the cups with potty words instead of names. The 2nd graders highly approved. 

We love our Burl and sometimes I feel bad for him because he's the first child and somewhat our trial run when it comes to parenting. He absorbs it well and receives our apologies with love. I hope that I can be as gracious. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Before & After: Fern's Room

Fern got a room makeover! We sent her away to the grandparents' for a sleepover while we painted and redecorated her room. John and I finally upgraded to a great king size bed, so Fern got our queen bed (which is in good condition). We used the opportunity to repaint her room (from beige-something to WHITE!) and we let her pick out some new bedding. Here's the before: 

The layout is similar. We started by purging her toys. She chose to put the American Girl dolls in the attic and keep the Barbies. We traded out the chair for a more current looking chair that I got from a neighbor for $10.

Originally she wanted a yellow room, but yellow comforters are hard to come by. I found some options for her, but the navy, coral, and aqua quilt caught her eye and we went with those colors. I was hesitant at first, but the dark colors look good in the all white room. 

We removed the open wall shelves and moved her dresser in their place. 
For now, she has a side chair until I can find a good nightstand. 

Jenny's painting is still a hit! 

Since Christmas, Fern has been downstairs in her ow space. That girl loves some private room time. She journals, practices yoga moves, plays, and sits on her bed. The not-typical things that six year old girls do...

To keep the room clear of clutter, we put most of her little toys on a shelf in the closet. The Barbie house is all that's left out. 

It was fun to try to create something for her from her style. I love her jumbled up style and I am happy to give her a place to be her girly self. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ode To Barefoot Days

Today I drove 40 minutes to take Burl to a birthday party. He's plenty old enough to drop off and leave, but the commute didn't make sense for me to do it. He kept telling me that it was ok to drop him off and leave. I finally asked, "is it more fun when I'm not there?"

He was kind but honest in his reply, "Kinda yes and kinda no. You're not there to tell me 'stop Burl'." I get it. We can all remember what it was like to be out from under our parents. It wasn't like we wanted to do bad things, and it's not like Burl wants to do bad things (mostly). It was and is the freedom to be a little more child-like and uninhibited with their play without the watchful eye of a parent. 

(in need of more girls!)

A couple of Saturdays ago it was very warm and the kids had the best day ever. It was the kind of day where they ran from yard-to-yard, climbed trees, and were barefoot with friends. They had the kind of day that was a true gift-better than new underwear or scotch tape in their Christmas stockings. 

The end of the day was perfect too. We collected some neighbors and friends for dinner and made simple tacos with bags of chips. I made cookies as other people cleared the table and the adults ate too much cookie dough while we stood in the kitchen. After hours and hours outside, I found Ridge in the dark among the flashlights. He was lying on his stomach in the grass about to fall asleep. We finished the day off with a little Swiss Family Robinson in the den while the parents talked just a little bit longer...

My dreams are still coming true. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Baby Trampoline Time

When the cat's away, the mice will play and when the big kids are at school, the littles have run of the trampoline. 

They absolutely love having it to themselves because they're not getting catapulted to the clouds by the big kids' gnarly skills. 

What I see here is more evidence of their brotherhood forming. It didn't take long for these boys to be "all boy" together. They've been wrestling for months now, and the trampoline adds another layer of fun.

Their little faces are so fun. A little concerned, a little rowdy, a little mischievous, a lot happy. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

Last Valentine's Day Lark was 12 days old and I can't remember if we did anything special at all to celebrate. Typically, I like to do something small. Special drinks at lunch, a small gift (the kids still talk about the great year when I bought them carabiners and rope), a candlelight dinner, etc. With the barn door closed on making and nursing babies, I felt excited to celebrate the special day this year. 

We gifted the kids bubble bath (mainly for the babies) and a beta fish (mainly for the big kids). The fish has been a big hit! The day after the we gave them the fish, they all had to eat breakfast with it. More on pet life later...

The Saturday following Valentine's Day, we picked up on a tradition that the kids have been begging for: sushi and egg rolls. We did it once before and they talk about it frequently. They were so little back then! The deal is that girls make egg rolls and boys make sushi. The kitchen is full of voices, movement, music, and parental patience. It's a pitiful show of skills, but the pride is still there. Sometimes the best flavors are hard work earned and enjoyed!

It was another fun year celebrating our family's love for one another. Maybe by the time that they're teenagers, we will be like professionals. For now, enthusiasm outweighs appearance and happiness erases fighting. We thank Jesus for this family regularly.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Big Firsts At The Farm

 Ever since the tree burning (and his CapriSun binge), Ridge has had a daily habit of asking to go to my dad's farm. Since the kids were off of school for Presidents' Day and the weather was unseasonably good, we made it happen.

My dad called it his favorite visit yet. We had some monumental firsts that comes with (almost) big kids. 

1. They roamed into the cow field by themselves and ran wild and free! Usually, they stay close to the house and venture into the field only when they're on some type of vehicle. We've never told them they couldn't, but they weren't old enough to feel comfortable with it, I guess. 

2. Burl drove the 4-wheeler by himself. End of story. Day made. Life complete. And I'm just referring to my dad. Burl was happy too. He handled the responsibility with utmost care. My favorite part was at the end of the day as we were leaving. My dad pulled Burl aside, hugged him, and told Burl how proud he was. My dad told him that he knew he could trust Burl. Touch and words are so powerful, even for guys. As shaping as the 4-wheeler ride was, there aren't many things that top a man freely giving a boy pride and trust. 

3. Water creations. The picture below might be one of my all time favorite poignant pictures of my kids. Burl in his boy gear, Fern in her girl gear, Ridge soaked. They spent some time in the overflow creek building dams and bridges. Always a hit with my kids

We onc again had a great time and look forward to our next visit and new freedoms. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ridge & Lark Kisses

They spend a lot of time together, and I find their brotherly relationship entertaining. They wrestle, they laugh, they fight, and they love each other. This time, I got a picture of Ridge tickling Lark's face with kisses. We were all laughing. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Things I'm Loving Right Now

1. Double Dates. We were invited to a double date, which turned into a triple date when we ran into another couple. This is my jam right now. John and I don't have many opportunities for adult conversation without kid interruptions. That's fine. It's a short season, but we enjoy the opportunities when we get them. Now, we find ourselves going on as many double dates  as regular ones. 

2. Running. Running is going well right now and I'm so thankful that my body is working enough so I can run every other day. Schedule, ability, weather, stamina, and desire all have to line up for me to go for a run. So far, I've been able to stay consistent and it feels great. 

3. Citrus. This time of year offers so much sweet fruit. We are all loving cutie oranges (Lark goes crazy if he sees them) and there's always a pineapple on the counter waiting to be cut. (Ridge ate so much pineapple yesterday his tongue was raw-he kept asking, "Why it hurt?")

4. Hat. Wearing a hat is NOT my norm but I finally bought one. Inspired by one of my babysitters and another friend, I made the choice for a spunky beanie for some of our colder days. When I wear it, I always get comments. No flattery, just different versions of, "oh you're wearing a hat." Yes. I'm wearing a hat. The end.

5. Hot tea. When I talked to my doctor about a healthy diet, she mentioned that green tea was good for us. In my effort to be healthier, I've switched from "quit eating so much food" to "what can I put in my body to help me feel good." It's a switch from no no no to yes yes yes. There's a list of things, but mint green tea has been a calming addition. I brew a cup every afternoon as the kids get out of school. I either take it with me for carpool or sip it while I wait for carpool to come to me. It warms me up and it calms me down. It's not as fun as a brownie, but I feel better!

Writing this list helps me see that there are things going well in winter-who knew!? It's not summer, so I need all the practice I can get on focusing on happy/good things. I don't usually get comments, but feel free to tell me things going well for YOU.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Valentine's Decor: Printing With A Potato

To my surprise, I tried a random craft over the weekend that turned out well. I pulled my inspiration from every place except from pinterest. It was a combination of high school art and things I've heard in passing over the years. 

The kids enjoy decorating for all the holidays. A.L.L. While I tend towards "less is more," they lean towards "less is sad, more is more is more, can't stop, won't stop." I like to find a happy middle of ways I can decorate for little to no money. 

I made a potato stamp (cut in half, carve out a shape) and used the kids squirt paint. They all got into it. Burl was into the carving part. Fern was into the coloring part. Ridge was into the mess part. 

I stamped them on watercolor paper and taped them above the currently naked mantel. It was way too easy and I love the mismatched uniformity to it. Next up is a big yellow piece for Fern. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Great Story

"Mama, can I please give Lark his bottle tonight PLEASE?" Burl asked. Lark couldn't care less who gave him his goodnight bottle as long as there is perfectly warmed milk in it. 

The four ounces went by too quickly for Burl (they always do for me too), so he went for the books. John and I spied from the crack in the door, and John insisted that I take pictures. 

Their faces were precious. The big and the little. Fresh from dinner and baths. Doing their best together. We know it's special, they know it's special, and all I can see is Burl's dimple and Lark's little mouth. This is a good story. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Suns Out Tums Out

The trampoline we got for Christmas has already earned it's worth several times over. Thank you to John's parents! My FIL asked the kids if they've been playing on it, then answered his own question, "well I guess we haven't had the weather for it, really."

Au contraire mon frère. They're out there almost everyday unless it's wet. The neighbor kids (who have a trampoline 50 yards away from ours) come over and they have a big time. I took these pictures on a beautiful sunny day with then temps reached into the upper 50s and they were "burning up." Suns out/tums out.

Today it's even nicer and warmer! The doors are open, the heat is off, and to top it off school was cancelled because of the flu! Fern is in her bathing suit. Burl just ran inside, grabbed is glove and baseball, and yelled "it's the perfect day to play outside!" Ridge is keeping up with the big kids after a short nap in the car. Lark is taking a big ole nap. We're living large and making it just fine this winter. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Lark's Little Party

Lark dismantled the title of Baby Of The Family when he was born, weighing a solid 12 pounds. Hours after he was born, John was googling gigantism. During my pregnancy, I would ask my friend if I was going to have another 10 pound baby, to which she always jokingly said, "no-he's going to be 12 pounds." We would laugh because we thought it wasn't possible. 

And here we are. One year later we have a big, happy boy. On Saturday we had a little brunch with our family to celebrate him and to give him cake. He liked the attention and received it well. 

He had one little overwhelming moment when we gathered in a semi-circle around him. (Just like Burl did at his first birthday.) He hid his face in John's neck, but came right back out when he saw his cake with candle. 

He dug into his cake and enjoyed it to the max. 

Then, we opened gifts. By WE, I mean WE. He had a lot of help opening and playing with his toys, and he loved them almost as much as his cake:

We could all tell a little bit of difference with him. He new that he was getting some special attention and he responded with open-mouth, tongue-twirled smiles. We tried to get a family picture, and how poignant that with four children, this is the best we got...

It was a sweet morning for our sweet boy-we all know what it is to love a child, and celebrating them comes easy.