Thursday, May 29, 2014

Picture of the Week - 5/29/2014

Today's email is brought to you by the official start of summer!
We had a really great (and fast) trip to celebrate my cousin's wedding last weekend.  It was a whirlwind that I am SO glad we did!  We had lots and lots of car time, which served to reinforce that getting a new minivan with fun bells and whistles was the right decision for us!  The boys did remarkably well on the trip and the hotel and the wedding events.  It was so nice to get to see family that we haven't seen for far too long!  It was a really nice trip!
And when we got back - it was SUMMERTIME!
The weather has finally warmed up down here and I think it's safe to pack away the long pants and jackets.  The big boys are out of school.  Zane has moved to a new room at Goddard and is doing all kinds of fun summer camp activities.  And at the end of this 4 day work week we are going on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. 
Yep...  it's summertime and I'm pretty excited about it!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Picture of the Week - 5/22/2014

Zane graduated from pre-K tonight.  Spencer graduates from 5th grade tomorrow.  I could write a whole post about how these graduations are a little whacko, but that's for another day.  I think Spencer put it best the other day when he said, "I don't think graduation from 5th grade should be a celebration.  Isn't it more of an expectation."
I also have many, many feelings about how fast time goes.  I'm not sure I've formed all these thoughts into a coherent paragraph just yet.  Stay tuned for that too.
And then there's the wedding/anniversary weekend.  For anyone who is my "friend" on Facebook, I apologize for the bombarding of photos I uploaded today.  I guess I have lots to say.  We are leaving for a road trip to celebrate my cousin Amy's wedding this weekend.  We are also celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary on the same day.  I am so thrilled that we get to spend our special day celebrating what will become a very special day for Amy and CJ with our family.  It should be a very fun (and likely tiring) weekend.  I could talk about how blessed I am to be married to my best friend, but I'm pretty sure you guys have heard that before. 
Instead of waxing (somewhat) poetic about any of these things, I will just simply remind you to go love the people around you.  They change faster than you can imagine and time simply flies.  Take time to celebrate - the big moments and the little ones.  You get one chance at this crazy life.  Make the most of it!
I leave you with a picture of Zane in a miniature cap and gown.  His cuteness still sometimes catches me off guard. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Picture of the Week - 5/15/2014

So it appears we are raising a whole family of morning people.  Woot Woot!  As a self-proclaimed morning person, this makes me happy.  
The big boys have an alarm set for 90 minutes before they have to walk out the door.  Yes, 90...  that is not a typo.  For the record, it takes them far less time to actually get themselves to a point where they are ready to walk out the door - and I have questioned this early alarm many times.  They claim that they like to get up so they aren't rushed in the morning.  They get up and normally walk into our room for good morning hugs.  (Good morning hugs...  sigh...  one of the very best parts of being a mom!)  Then they head downstairs - almost always as a little party of 2 - and make breakfast.  This leaves them plenty of time for Spencer to make himself a lunch (Quinn prefers to buy) while Quinn chills out with some TV or his iPod.  All of this before 7 AM.
Beckett typically makes his appearance at some point during the "get ready" hour.  He is a little more needy because he's still in his crib and needs help to get out.  For the record, he's capable of getting himself out, but he doesn't like doing the dismount by himself.  And I am A-OK with that!  Many, many times Spencer is actually the one to get Beck out of his bed.  (And every time this happens my heart bursts with love and I thank my lucky little stars that I have such awesome boys!)  Beckett is normally satisfied with some chocolate milk and a show (currently Diego) as we finish getting ready.
Zane is a bit of a wild card.  Some days he wakes up with a halo over his perfectly coifed curly blonde hair and gives jaw-droppingly beautiful smiles as his blue-grey eyes twinkle.  Other days, it's best to just leave him alone...  One thing that Zane has gotten into the habit of doing lately reminds me of my New Year's resolution.  (Anyone else still keeping your resolutions???)  If you remember, my resolution was super easy - it was to hug more.  And Zane loves his first morning hug more than any of his brothers.  He likes to hug in a full-body, squeeze me tight kind of way.  And his morning hugs last a long time.  Even on busy mornings, when I know I don't have an extra 4 or 5 minutes to just sit, I hug him back.  I resist the urge to be the one to break the bond.  This is tough for me!  I have a hard time stopping and just BEING when there are things to do and schedules to keep.  But with Zane, I let him decide when it's time to pull back and stretch his ever-growing legs and scamper off to find a playmate.  Someday I hope he will remember those early morning hugs.  I cherish them.
The only problem with having a whole gang of wide-awake and ready to go people in the morning is that our kitchen, which is actually pretty large by most standards, gets SUPER busy.  As in ALL of the living, breathing beings end up needing to be in the same space.  There are sandwiches being made and fruit being cut and nutello being smeared onto waffles or toast.  There are dogs wanting food and then water and then a lick from the peanut butter spoon.  There are TV shows to turn on and little bodies to dress and sippy cups to fill.  There are last minute papers that need to be signed and spare clothes that need to be labeled.  It's both a beautifully choreographed dance and a loud chaotic zoo. 
Today's picture is pretty indicative of a very normal scene in our kitchen in the early morning hours.  A couple of brothers playing together - in this case Spencer and Beckett - and a dog checking things out.  I could have cropped out Willow and just sent along a picture of a clearly happy Beckett, but the chaos is part of the fun.  The constant motion and noise is what I want to remember.  I love this crazy little family!
When I leave in the mornings (because to get to leave first while Bob wraps up morning prep), I make a point to say goodbye to each of the boys and tell them they are loved.  Sometimes, like this morning, I do goodbye hugs and kisses and then get side-tracked before I actually leave.  On days like this, I always do a last minute "Good Bye Boys!  I love you" holler as I head out.  And if I'm lucky (as I was this morning), I am treated to a chorus of "Bye mom.  Love you", "Bye Bye mommy", "Bye mama, wuv you", "Bye! Love you too" from all corners of the house.  There is simply no finer music than that. 
Have a great week everyone!  We have a full schedule of school year-end activities as the boys only have 1 week of school left!  We have a pre-K graduation and a 5th grade graduation next week before we head north for my cousin's wedding.  Spencer is actually on a field trip to the middle school today.  He is so very excited to be moving on to 6th grade - and a new school!  He will leave behind many of his school friends due to the way our schools are districted, but he's ready to make some new friends.  He's ready for some additional freedom.  He's SO ready!  And I'm so proud that he's got enough confidence and courage to tackle this new challenge with excitement.  I can't wait to see him as a middle schooler! 
One last update - lacrosse season is over.  Bummer!  We had SO much fun this spring.  I love that sport more and more with every game I watch.  And I know I've said it before, but I thoroughly loved watching my boys play on the same team.  It may never happen again...  so I'm doubly glad that they had such a great experience.  Their team won the league championship in a close, rainy game last night.  Spencer was a beast in goal!  Quinn had some tough missed passes on attack, but got to play in a very close game.  The final score was 4-3 - a true nail biter - and left our boys on top of their league with an undefeated season.  So much fun!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Picture of the Week - 5/8/2014

So you all know the saying about a glass that happens to be half full of water, right?  (If you don't, you are probably an alien and shouldn't admit it.)
If you know me (at all), you know that I am generally a "glass is half full" kind of person.  I have many MANY quotes hanging in my office reminding me that "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference" ~Churchill or "If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change the way you think about it!" or (from today's daily calendar) "I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back." ~Rubenstein.  I actually really do believe that "Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be." ~Lincoln - and my all time favorite quote. 
But having a tendency to lean toward choosing to be happy does not mean that I always AM happy. 
Sometimes the perfect storm of tough days at work and annoying people and illness and too many events on the calendar combines with impending travel induced stress and a hormonal surge and a realization that there are a million projects that need done around my poor neglected house and I am left feeling a little defeated. 
It's times like this that I have to dig a little deeper to find my happy place.  (Luckily for me, I happen to live with a guy who is also a half-full believer and is usually very good at getting me back on track.)
I was walking through my messy, messy house the other day when I decided something.  (Seriously, it's messy ALL THE TIME!)  I was walking around getting more and more irritated about the random single socks laying amidst the forgotten toys.  Stepping over a pile of shoes (some of which were mine) and trying to find an open spot on the counter somewhere between all the various piles, which probably meant different things when they were started.  I sighed as I looked at the dishes in the sink and the ever-present piles of laundry waiting to be washed and folded and put away.  I know my bathroom cabinets are a nightmare and the basement storage area desperately needs attention.  We want to move kids around and redecorate and do something about the fact that my dining room (the first thing you see when you walk into my house) has turned into a VERY ill-equipped sewing room.  All of these things about my poor poor house could easily turn my mood sour. 
But I decided that I don't just want to be a glass is half full, but from now on I'm also going to be a window half smudged kinda gal.
I'm sure if I didn't have kids, I would have a cleaner house.  I'm certain that without the need to organize and plan for 4 little dudes, I would be able to spend more time doing things like sweeping out the garage.  I know that if I didn't have the expenses associated with raising a family we would be able to afford to have someone come in and repaint my disgusting baseboards - although they probably wouldn't be quite so disgusting.  And beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am positive that without my active boys, and also the crazy dogs, my windows would remain blissfully smudge free between their yearly professional cleanings. 
And I would be no where near as happy as I am today.
I would not trade my morning snuggles and bedtime kisses for a simpler life.  I would not trade the pride I feel when I think about my oldest moving on to a new school very soon for fewer school meetings.  I would not trade the sound of giggles coming from the toy room for a nice and tidy sewing room.  I would never think about trading the sound of a 2 year old saying "I wuv you mama" for anything. 
So I will deal with the chaos.  I will live with the mess.  And I will remind myself to rejoice in the smudge on a window - even if it does make me wonder how in the world it got there!
To all you moms out there, I wish you the very Happiest of Mother's Days.  I am particularly thankful for my own mom, who not only overlooks my messy, messy house, but has turned out to be a real friend.  I think she's just about the coolest person I know - even if she does like ugly brown quilts.  ;)
PS - In case you have ever wondered, it's very difficult to get a picture of a smudged window.  This particular picture works because the nasty hand print (which is still there) is SO VERY DISTINCT that you can see it on the glass even in a photo.  Believe me when I tell you that the lower half of that window almost looks frosted at this point.  :)  Also, I'm sending along a very belated Easter picture of the cousins - in case anyone wants to look at a real picture and not proof that my house is messy messy messy!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Picture of the Week - 5/1/2014

Advance apology that this is going to be a really short note.  I'm pretty buried in work stuff this week and have very little computer time.  AND I haven't take a single "real" picture in the last week.  (Thank goodness for smart phone cameras!)
I'm sharing a couple of lacrosse related pictures.  The one of the big boys was from game earlier this spring.  I posted it on Facebook, so many of you may have already seen it, but it's a good repeat! 
The picture of the little boys is from youth night at a varsity lacrosse game last week.  Free face painting...  always a winner!
We have 2 more regular season games this weekend and then a tournament next weekend.  Hard to believe the season has gone so quickly!!!  I have really really loved having both boys on the same team.  It makes the practices and games twice as interesting.  I will definitely miss that next year!