Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A post of people I love....

In 2002, I spent 10 weeks in Santa Cruz, CA for the summer.  It was challenging and incredible and my roommates were the best.  We got together recently for the first time since summer project -- plus most of our kiddies!

Pizza my heart.

Just typical dinner time attire when daddy is out of town...

McBride's + Reid's // seven children

Everyone looking...

crying tears of laughter while looking at this picture. 

that time I kicked my baby in the head while trying to beat the camera self-timer...

Being with these people is good. And it's like family.  And it's fun and full and always chaos -- in the best way.  

Elise's first plane ride

Our sweet nephew Cole -- or "baby Cole" as the boys call him.

Isn't he adorable!?!!?

In Chicago, at the aquarium. 

Group picture

Silly group picture

Chicago date night! Thanks, Kate!

Just the man of my dreams, the love of my life...I'm a lucky girl!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Elise {9months}

Well, well, tiny {not really} baby is nine months old and that seems nearly impossible.  This is about the time where reality sets in and I realize that I am closer to having a toddler than a baby.  Which makes me want to cry like a baby.  And have more babies. Ah well...

Elise is such a joy. Seriously. I have no clue how a baby can be so smiley and content all most of the time.  She fusses, obviously.  And has bad days, but they are not too hard to deal with.  She has started voicing her opinion when the boys take something from her or she can't reach something that she wants.  And she recently started screaming as loud as she possibly can just for fun.  Think of the highest pitches squeal -- that is the noise she loves to make in public bathrooms. echo...echo...echo.  Sorry for your ears because I love hearing my baby get excited more than I worry about your ear comfort :)

Our sweet girl is long! She is about 30 1/2 inches, from my measurement.  I put her in a lot of dresses so she doesn't have to wear capri pants all the time ;) And what's not to love about a cute dresses with matching bloomers!  I can still put headbands on her and she will leave them on.  Sometimes she will pull them down and chew on them -- success for her, I'm sure!

Elise still nurses SEVEN times a day. Yes, you read that correctly. 7.  My goal in life was to get her down to seven times a day, from eight, before she turned nine months old. Win! She eats baby food at least twice a day and also enjoys snacks. I am much more negligent lenient carefree in feeding her real food -- so far, so good.  Just this past week she has started eating whatever real food I put in front of he -- bless it! I can't wait to stop buying expensive baby food!

Things Elise loves:
*her thumb.
*blankies. especially when sucking her thumb.
*playing with toys she stole from her brothers. {insert angry cry when they find out and take said toy away}
*playing with balls or stuffed animals.
*daddy unless I am anywhere in clear site.
*puffs or cheerios.
*mommy! {In fact, of all her babbles -- she says "mama" when she sees me and on command. Yesssssssssss, yes, yes!}

Things Elise does not love:
*taking things away from her.
*being hungry

Elise doesn't move, really.  I mean, she bounces while she's sitting.  And she has recently started to roll for things she wants.  But her motivation is lacking and her incentives must not be all that wonderful. The day is coming, though. As much as I like the gloriousness of her not moving, I am anxious for her to starting crawling and moving around with the boys!

Speaking of the boys -- Elise loves them.  Seriously.  She smiles and laughs at them so fantastically.  Andrew smothers her hourly and she makes it very clear when she is over his attention.  Benjamin is more of a distant lover.  As in, he talks to her from the other side of the room and touches her sometimes.  They are all so sweet together, though.  My heart is full watching them and being surrounded by them.  They are heart melting messes and it's a fair warning to you that if you see them you will want to squish them and kiss them and just enjoy the heck out of them.  Well, unless one of them is sassy or has an angry face -- you may just want to walk away and try again later...

I digress, back to Elise.

She's wonderful and fills my heart with joy.  Wherever there was fear of being the momma to a baby girl, there is now simply humility that such a delight would be called my daughter.  The Lord has shown such incredible kindness to me through my children.

So here are some pictures of our sweetie baby....

First plane ride. Destination: Chicago!

She loved it and did so great.

9 months.

9 months in {right before we left for the hospital}
9 months out!

6 days old // 9 months old 

Happy baby 

Clap your hands!

blankie lover.

Typical crinkle nose smile <3 td="">

Loves daddy and looks like him!

Angry Elise -- she wanted me to hold her, per usual, instead of take her picture.

little lady...

Me and Elise!

One more of the girls...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When I grow up... {conversations with little people

Patrick has been out of town this week.  And sometimes that's draining and sometimes is not as hard as I thought it would be.  And most of the time, I just have to laugh and smile and say "I'm sorry" a lot.

Good news: he will be home today. Like, in a flash!

So we went to the YMCA this morning and that was good.  And then we went to Whole Foods and that was okay.  I knew it was going to be a little hairy when Benjamin had to go to the bathroom as soon as we got there and then, of course, Andrew did too.  I had a baby in a wrap, a three year old forced to stay in a cart and a five year old forced to touch said cart at all times.  I got kind looks.  And not-so-kind looks. {people can be so mean to moms with just a glare. Ugh.}

We go to the bathroom.  We wander around the {most dangerous ever} store and find what we need.  And we also found a few things we didn't really neeeeeed. At one point a woman says something about how well behaved my children are being. I'm glad she said something so nice and I smile. Moments later, I begin looking for her so she can she our true colors shining through.

Elise has been moved to the cart and is cracking up at Andrew. Benjamin is losing his cool and starting to do crazy things only five year old boys can come up with and it drives me bonkers. Andrew then follows Benjamin's craziness.  I'm down two and one melting away. Which is, in fact, the entirety of my crew.  Bummer.

I try to re-group.  We are almost done! I order some coffee from the coffee bar and must have looked a little frazzled.  I ask for an iced americano, the girl smiles at me and says, "You want the biggest size we have?"

Actually, I do. Thanks.

We get into the car and pray.  Seriously.  I turned off the over played VBS music and looked at my boys straight in the face.  I said, "We need to pray.  I'm sorry mommy has been so impatient and frustrated and wants you to live in my expectations all the time. I need Jesus."  They smiled so lovingly and peacefully at me and both boys screamed, "IT'S OKAY, MOMMY! We forgive you." Then we prayed for a few minutes.  Amen.

{insert tears and gratitude and humility and sort of a "whew!" feeling}

On the way home, I suggested we drive by the school and then stop by the house {we are building. oops, did I tell you that. I will. Soon}.  We were laughing and talking about all sorts of things.  I love that we can talk together and enjoy whatever we are talking about.  This is part of our conversation as we passed the boys school....

B: People are there? What are they doing?!
Me: They are working! Someone has to be at the school during the summer.
A: I will work at the school.
Me: Andrew, that's a fun thing to do when you grow up!
B: I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
Me: That's okay. You have a lot of years to figure that out.  And you want to know the best part of figuring it out?
Boys: what?!!?
Me: You get to try so many new things while you decide what you like to do best!
B: Okay. So first thing to try {holds up one finger} -- be a jedi.  I don't know what I will try after that.

The boys and I kept talking as we drove around and it made me so grateful.  I'm grateful that I can enjoy conversations with my children.  I'm grateful that they share things with me.  I'm grateful that even tiny moments are teachable.  I'm grateful for the incredible about of grace they have for my sinfulness.  I'm grateful for new mercies and renewed perspectives.

Motherhood is certainly hard and overwhelming.  Sometimes it's lonely and mundane.  Sometimes it's hilarious and simple.  Either way, I wouldn't be the woman I am without the title and honorable role as a momma... Maybe that's what I'm most grateful for.

Also, when I was little I wanted to be a momma when I grew up. Win!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer, summer, summertiiiimmmmeee....

I have no regrets in titling my blog from a Will Smith song.  And it may come as no surprise to you that my summers are not a time to "sit back and unwind" {please see song lyrics for reference if you do not get it...}.  I LOVE having all of my babes with me and I have been looking forward to this summer, especially, since B was in school this year!

But, with all of that said, things can get crazy and insane and down right out of control quickly.  So I made a few "lists" this year.  We made a "summer bucket list", a cleaning schedule and a rest time/work schedule for B.

Here's a run down of our summer lists:

Cleaning schedule --
Monday - laundry & dusting
Tuesday - vacuum & mop 
Wednesday - Kitchen & bathrooms
Thursday - laundry & bedrooms
Friday - vacuum & kitchen

This schedule has worked so well for me so far! I enjoy cleaning {and I'm pretty type B!} and it's good for me to have goals or lists.  I do tidy up daily and try to keep toys and such under control.  Vacuuming twice a week is great for keeping small things off the floor -- you know, incase Elise decides to move...ever.

Rest time: 30 minutes each day - 
Monday - Bible & writing
Tuesday - Math & work on Principles challenge
Wednesday - catechisms
Thursday - phonograms & reading
Friday - memory work recap {states, capitols, oceans,governors, numbers, etc}

This schedule has been good, but I've yet to find a good rhythm with keeping it consistent.  Mainly because Benjamin was sick the first few days of break and then we have had VBS meetings and then I was sick...we'll get into a routine and I look forward to that time with B!

Summer Bucket list!
*zoo x 3
*swimming at Pelican Bay {local pool}
*Cuppies & Joe Saturday morning story time
*Picnic at Myriad Gardens
*Craft day each week
*lunch date with daddy x 3
*living room sleepover
*backyard camping
*library/treat day every other week {when books need to be returned}
*family movie night x 3
*try geocaching
*go hiking for a day
*feed ducks at Hafer Park
*go to the Mitch YMCA water park
*Bird watch at the park
*Tie-dye t-shirts
*Bowling night
*bake cookies and take them to friends

I've thought of a few more things, but I forgot to write them down.  If I remember again, I'll be sure to add them to our list!

Our summer has plenty of time for relaxing and staying home in our jammies all day.  Or grabbing lunch out and eating at the park.  Or playing in the hose until it's nap time.  Or making forts and watching too much TV.  And I love that just as much as I love the lists we have made.

Life is too short to make too many rules.  And the longer I'm a momma, the more I realize that my days with these precious children will soon be gone and they will have their own summer plans.  So while they are here and while they are all mine -- we well laugh and we will play and we will probably correct and discipline a lot and we will just be together.  Because in the end, we are better together.  And that's how I will choose to make the most of these very short {but very long feeling} little years...

Now, tell me your fun summer ideas so I can add them to my list ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Andrew is three {plus, a party!}

It seems as though my children won't stop growing up. This is fine because I love seeing the little people they are becoming and cherish these days I have with them.

But, seriously. SLOW DOWN!

Andrew is now three.  He is not a baby anymore, nor a toddler.  Technically, he is a "preschooler".  And any word with "school" in it somewhere makes him sound way older than he should be.  Wasn't he just born?  Didn't he just turn ONE?
No, it's been three fast years of a lot of fun and laughter, some tears and tantrums, and some very serious cuteness.  Andrew is such an incredible little guy.

My second boy. My baby boy. The middle of our three. He sits in our family just where God intended him.  It's a beautiful thing to see these things.  He is a snuggle puppy and loves to sing songs.  He is joyful and up for nearly any adventure.  He is a great helper to me and is such a fun side-kick.  I enjoy him so much.

Andrew is so much fun and always makes us laugh. We refer to him as "a party in a box" -- because, well, he is! He can remember things beyond my comprehension.  He's pretty good at kicking a soccer ball and is still working on keeping up with his brother when they run.  He talks non-stop and asks a million questions a day.  He is more clever than he should be and has a killer smile. He also gets away with way more than he should.  Second born :)

Andrew loves and feels deeply.  He comes by that honestly, I suppose.  If he hurts someone on accident, he cries.  If we are in the store and a child is crying, he asks over and over again "what's wrong? dat boy sad?".  He will ask me to pray anytime we pass an emergency vehicle.  And that boy can pray! He will pray for things fervently. He loves his little sister and protects her well.  He entertains her, serves her and really wants her to move around with him. I truly love his heart.

Benjamin and Andrew have a sweet relationship.  They fight and pick on each other, as brothers do.  Andrew follows most of Benjamin's commands and that works well for both of them ;)  They imagine well together and they enjoy most of the same things.  I know I've said this before, but based on their relationship -- having a brother must be the best thing ever.  I hope they always strive to maintain this bond that has started to form.  And I can't help but think that the strength of a brotherly bond must withstand almost any test of life.  I pray it does.

We had a pirate party for Andrew on his actual birthday -- which is always fun.  And it was special this year because Aunt Beth was here! Andrew invited five of his friends and we all played and had fun. Per usual Andrew requested cookies over cupcakes {maybe Elise will like cupcakes?} and he wanted ham and cheese and fruit to eat.  And that's just what we did :)  We also went out for dinner on Friday night for his birthday he chose Hideaway pizza {but he calls his "pizza-way"}.  He has asked several times this week when his friends are coming over again for his birthday.  He is not pleased with my answer of "next year".

Alas, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweeeeetie Andrew.  He really is such a treasure and God knew what we needed in our second child.  He is a delight to this momma!

family picture

I said, "Go stand near the flowers..." and this is what he did!

Such a take-it-all-in kind of kid...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A THREE year old questionnaire {Andrew}

How old are you? {holds up three fingers} two.
How tall are you? big 
How much do you weigh? three
Who is your favorite person? God
What is your favorite toy? Momma {he likes flashlights. and balls. and imaginex knights}
Favorite book? Dogs and dogs {aka. Go, dogs, go!}
Favorite movie? Pick-pick-able Me 2 {Despicable Me 2}
Favorite TV show? Tiger's neighborhood 
Favorite food? mac n cheese 
Favorite fruit? cantaloupe, blueberries
Favorite snack? cheese
Favorite drink? crystal light
Favorite activity? be like my brudder
Favorite school work? basketball hoop
Favorite color? Mayer {but I would say orange :)}
Favorite sport? soccer game
Favorite song? Do-a-deer {Sound of Music}. He also said "Jesus loves me" and "abc's"
Favorite animal? giraffe. monkey.
Favorite game? I spy with my wittle eye
Favorite outfit? a shirt
Favorite holiday? my birthday
What do you need in bed when it's time to go to sleep? my pillow. my sleeping bag. blankies. flashlight!
Best Friend? Mayer and Brixton. Benjamin is my brudder.
When I grow up I want to be? big like an elephant.
Nicknames? Andrew! {B calls him "ang" sometimes. I often call him my sugar Andrew...}
Thing I am really good at? big brudder. {which is true! He is so west to E;use and cares for her so well!}

Some other stats:
Clothing size: 2T or 3T, depending on the brand 
Shoe size: 8.5
Height:  38 inches
Weight: 32 pounds

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Paper calendar {thoughts on my days}

This year I began using a paper calendar.  I still use my phone for some things, but mostly I take the time to write things down in a spiral, weekly calendar. I feel so disconnected and adult-like.  And I really love that.

I love how I get to write things that aren't just to-do lists or parent signings.  I love that I get to see how my week fill up.  I love writing and remembering birthdays.  I love scribbles of reschedules or notes about prayer requests or things I need to get from the mall. I love seeing the "notes" from my little people.  It's also pink <3 p="">
I was sitting at Starbucks a few weeks ago, coffee in hand, looking at my week ahead.  I was filling in a few things that needed to be added.  I wrote down the workouts I needed to do on training days.  I made a few lists to the side.  And then I stopped and just looked at my words and to-do's and my messy handwriting.

My days are full of such sweet things. These sweet things are not spectacular or super important.  These sweet things are just little, every day things.

You may think my days are mundane or boring, most days.
Generally, all days are the same:

Wake up| Feed Elise| Get everyone ready for the day
Drink coffee| Take Benjamin to school| Feed Elise
Go to the Y and/or Run errands| Go home
Feed Elise| Clean up| Feed other people
Pick up Benjamin| Go home| Feed Elise
Nap time
Clean house| Play with Benjamin| Read my bible
Start dinner| Feed Elise| Play/cook dinner/clean
Welcome Patrick home| Eat dinner| Feed Elise
Play| Baths| Family worship
Feed Elise| Bedtime for the kiddos
Hang out with Patrick| Last clean up of the day
Bed time

And now that I'm looking at this list -- it made me laugh out loud!  This doesn't include random days that we spend running errands all morning or playing at a friends house.  Some days we go to the zoo, or the park, or we have lunch out before it's time to get Benjamin.  Some days we come straight home and enjoy being home.

All of this to say that I really enjoy this season...this life.  I love being a momma.  I love being Patrick's wife.  I love my friends and their kids.  I love our church. I love Benjamin's school.  I love having a YMCA and a Target :) It's not a busy life.  My days are not extravagant or full of luxury and relaxation.

My days are mostly simple and more than I deserve.  My days are full of prayer and pleas for patience and wisdom.  My days are easily exhausting.  My days are full of laughter.  Some days couldn't be quick enough.  Often, though, my days are too quick.  Not one day is perfect.  Not one day is the best.  They are all really beautiful, messy days -- and I'm really, really grateful for them.

Moral of the story: get a paper calendar. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another half marathon in the books! {A long review of my latest race}

Over the weekend, I ran a half marathon.  It was my goal to run one after each baby to get back into shape.  And I have accomplished that goal each time.  I'm proud of myself for setting this goal and meeting it THREE times!

I ran the OKC Memorial race {again} and it was as humbling and motivating as last time.  It is a true blessing to run to remember the 168 lives lost 19 years ago.  I met a woman who was cheering on her family as they ran different races.  They lost an 18 month old cousin in the bombing.  A sweet boy, Blake, who would be 21 this year.  My heart was saddened, but drawn even closer to this city I love.  

I may not be a born Okie, but I do love this great state.  
And I'm proud to be raising Okies!

The race day was already looking daunting as we checked the forecast days before -- warm and humid!  That was a bummer since I had trained in pretty cool and windy weather.  I was praying for a low 40's start temperature.  Maybe a slight wind.  Instead we had high 60's, humidity and severe storms.

As I got to the starting corral, the sky was already grey and overcast. We were waiting a little past the 6:30am start time to see what would happen. The potential for storms was very high, the momentum just as high.  There were 26,000 full and half marathoners ready to run! 

At first there was a 15 minute delay.  Most everyone waited around and took shelter in parking garages and open buildings.  But once the weather reports were more solid, the delay was pushed back to 8am!!! At that point I decided to run back to our hotel room because I would need to feed Elise again before I could run 13.1 miles!  She would starve otherwise -- haha!

The weather guys were hopeful, but not encouraging in their reports.  But there were a lot of runners wanting to run.  After training for four months, you want to see the fruits of your labor! I headed back to the corral as it started to storm.  I ran in the pouring rain and hail, but I made it! :)  The race finally started at 8:20am...

I couldn't find my friend Megan, who I was running with, before the start.  After watching for her for several minutes I decided to start running.  I didn't make it a mile before she called -- I stepped to the side and waited for her to find me.  Then we were chatting and running and cheering on the fire fighters running in their gear.  I checked our mileage around 4 1/2 miles.  It didn't feel like 4 miles at all!!!

At mile five the sun started coming out and it started getting a little warmer.  We downed some gu at mile six and kept going.  The crowds were awesome and cheered everyone on with great excitement! At one point I almost got a cup of vodka because I thought it was a water stop -- nope! Just a friendly neighbor handing out alcohol!  

I think it was mile seven that I started to get a little tired.  We split with the full marathoners at mile eight and I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine running 18 more miles in this weather! {Side note: one of my closest friends ran her first 26.2 and she rocked it! I am so proud of her!} I think it was at this point that I really needed to go to the bathroom and had peed my pants a little {truth of having three babies}.  

I was fading fast in the heat and at mile nine I ran into a port-a-potty and was glad to have an empty bladder!  That gave me a little more momentum.  You should know now that if it weren't for Megan, I don't think I would have finished strong.  She was an incredible motivator and a kind friend to stick with me at this point!

I told Megan several times to run ahead without me.  She is a champion runner and was beyond sweet to stick with me.  And I think it was fairly early in the race when I looked over to her and said, "I'm so glad we have Elise, but she did a number on my hips!" At around mile nine and a half, I couldn't keep running.  I walked for a little bit -- and then we would run again.  My legs were cramping so badly!  We would walk and then run again until the water stop after mile 12.  At that point, I knew where I was and how much further I had to go.  So we picked it up and ran to the finish! It was so good to be done! 2:42 was my official finish time -- 13 minutes slower than my slowest half before this race. {this was my 4th half}

I cried a little at the finish line -- not in pride, but disappointment.  I had trained so hard and so well.  I put in my time and effort.  But it wasn't enough to fight the heat and humidity and my lack of pre-race nutrition.  Next time, I'll down a teaspoon of salt before a warm race!  I have to remember, though, that this wasn't a time goal -- it was a get-back-into-shape-after-having-a-baby goal.  I need to remember that my body is very different after having three babies and being 32.  I need to remember that I ran the best I could in the moment and I did finish.

It was my hardest race and my slowest to date.  I would run in the snow for days rather than the heat, ever! :)  And right after the race I told Patrick that I couldn't imagine doing another one.  But yesterday morning {the day after the race}, I woke up ready to redeem my time goal and train for another half marathon.  This time without giving birth just six and half months prior!

Here's to a kind and faithful God who has given me both a healthy body and three sweet babies.  Here's to a faithful and encouraging friend.  Here's to an incredible husband who supports my insanity.  And here's to one more race!

Here are a few phone pics!
Race delay -- hotel picture :)

Post race selfie! Done!!!

Just one more! Love this girl so much!
B running his race!

I certainly cannot forget to tell you that Benjamin ran the kids marathon! They did 25 miles of running in PE class over the last four months and then they all ran 1.2 miles together at the race! He LOVED it.  And apparently he ran hand in hand with our friend Jerome -- and counted the entire time. Hahahaha! I love this kid so much.  Maybe someday you'll see me and B running together -- in fact, I really hope you do! :)