Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He’ll Kill Me as a Teenager

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Oh how I love this little boy and especially when he attempts to wear swim goggles on his own.  He is the master of everything and apparently also the master of wearing swim goggles ranks high on his list.  There was no helping him to put them on at the pool.  It sounded like this…

Do you need some help Bradley?  They really should be up higher on the back of your head. 

They are perfect mommy.  It hurts me like that.  Don’t touch me.

OK sweetie, but let me get a picture of you in them, because you are SO darn cute.

I texted chris the photo and he wrote back….Rocky Road!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Gooney!!!!!!! 

hilarious.  he’ll thank me later when I show this picture to his first girlfriend, right?!

Our weekend was filled with some much needed relaxing around the house, getting some projects done, and of course pool time.  Bradley picked up right where he left off last year.  Just walking to the end of the diving board and jumping right in. 

I just sometimes have to stop and pinch myself, and realize just how big this little boy is.  It is amazing!  Another thing I know I talk about ALL the time is our neighborhood.  Have I ever mentioned just how much I LOVE living here?  First of all, this is was my view from my seat at the pool this weekend…

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Our neighborhood had a Memorial Day Parade for the little guys.  Complete with decorated bikes, trikes, and wagons.  It was so much fun, but hot at a firecracker.  There was a BBQ and a moon bounce in the middle of the neighborhood afterwards.  We lasted all of 15 minutes before my crew started melting down from the heat.  It was still a success and the parade was adorable.

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Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Party of Five

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For most of our weekend this is how we rolled, literally.  Double stroller stuffed to the rim, complete with extra toys, blankets, sunscreen, Eurgo carrier, stuffed animals from the zoo, the camera, sunhats and paci’s for the girls, oh yeah and don’t forget the “PACKED TO THE BRIM DIAPER BAG.”  You need a lot of stuff while traveling with this crew.  I won’t even list all of the random shit, I mean necessities,  that was shoved into the diaper bag.  Poor little Grace is very lucky that her feet aren’t long, because they just sat propped up on the stuff in the basket. 

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Good thing she is cute as pie and fits perfectly in the back of the stroller!  She was such a trouper for the trip.  I just can’t get enough of this little one!  She came along on all of the adventures with the big kids and hardly made a fuss about the lack of naps or sleeping in random places.  The lessons she is already learning as the third baby. 

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Our first stop was to the awe inspiring Natural History Smithsonian.  The kids LOVED it!  Ellie ran from one set of bones to another exclaiming, “Look Mommy, look here, another Dinosaur bones.”  People were actually commenting that she should give tours.  I am telling you that this little girl is such a little firecracker at times and the light of my life all wrapped into one.  She is so enthusiastic, excited about learning, and the friendliest little thing you have ever seen!  

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Ellie checking out the “Dino Bones” and Bradley underneath his favorite T-Rex.

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The little ones didn’t leave a lot of time for reading the plaques or discussing the dinos, but Bradley still had a great time.  One day we will be back and walk around slowly and read the information.  This time was about looking, glancing, and moving on to the next thing!

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If you know anything about me, you will know that I HATE sleeping in the same room with my kids.  It makes me nervous that they will wake up and we will have a night from hell.  But, with only one bedroom in our suite and a very small bathroom we had to improvise.  First Grace went to bed in the farthest corner of the room.  Followed by Ellie on the other side of the bedroom.  Then Bradley and I hung out in the family room area until it was his bedtime and we put him to bed.  Everyone surprisingly did amazing with the arrangement.  I guess they were all so tired from the excitement of the day, and just wiped out.  Both nights all three children slept the whole night without a peep.  Everyone woke up around the normal seven am wake up time.  It was perfect!!

Day two we hit the Washington National Zoo…

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We inspected the zebras and the orangutans.  They were amazing and crossed this rope and pole system that was set up around the zoo.  It really drew a crowd and people were cheering for them!  It was great!

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Then we got to visit with Uncle Shawn, Aunt Kim and Uncle Adam when they met us for lunch at the zoo.  Baby Winn was there of course too!!!  Uncle Shawn getting some QT with baby Winn…

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The zoo trip was a success!  The kiddos had a blast and we completely wore them out!  After an insane attempt to ride the metro back to our hotel, we cabbed it back instead.  Let’s just say a crowed metro + a hungry baby + a overdone toddler = two extremely stressed parents.  All in all this was the most frazzled I felt the whole weekend.  But, we made it back ok and the world did not explode and either did Ellie’s two year old head.

The boys had a wonderful night out at the Nationals Baseball Game.  Bradley got to be one of the guys and go to the game with Daddy, Uncle Shawn, and Uncle Adam.  Let’s just say that this picture melts me…

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The boys at the game, Bradley eating a big old stadium hot dog with the bun (not cut up into little half moon pieces anymore) and with the sweetest, proudest grin I have ever seen.  He has officially worn his national zoo hat and Nationals jersey every day since we have been home.  Man I love this little boy!

We rounded up the trip with our last stop at the White House and the Washington Monument.  There were some little US history lessons thrown in for Bradley.  I’m not sure that he completely gets it, but I think he knows that the President is a really important person that runs our country.  At least that’s what I hope he took away from the day.

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We had a blast.  Our party of five.  Dinners out, breakfasts at the pastry shops, dinosaur bones, and fountains with little adorable ducks.  Wherever we went we had a huge crew and had fun together.  We made some great memories and it made me excited to think of all the adventures to come for our family.  I love you little stinkers, thanks for making our first vacation together a success…and especially thank you Chris for attempting with me and not killing me in the process!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Letting Go

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This weekend I learned a little bit about “letting go.”  I would say that I am usually wound up pretty tight.  I like routine, schedule, predictable, and the norm.  Since having Bradley I have had a hard time when we have traveled.  I have stressed about sleep, naps, and keeping things the same to avoid meltdowns.  I don’t feel like that is really a good thing though.  I always wanted to have that inner mama that could let things go a bit.  Not be too stressed if the kids got frazzled or the routines got messed up.  They will live.  Sometimes you have to let those things go to enjoy life. 

Well this weekend I learned about letting go and having fun.  We spent an awesome three day weekend in DC.  The weather was gorgeous, the children were rock stars, and I learned a lot about myself.  I can sleep in the same room with Ellie and Grace and actually get some rest.  I can wear a napping baby around the DC Zoo for over an hour with sweat dripping down my back and still have fun.  I can nurse a baby while sitting in traffic on 95.  That a baby hat can double as a burp cloth.  A baby blanket can double as an enormous bib when eating ice cream at the Washington Monument at 10 am on Sunday morning.  I can let random people take our picture in front of the White House and be ok that the above picture was actually the “best” one in the lot.  I can accept that there isn’t much time for aperture and shutter speed and getting the perfect shot.  There is just being, living, and having fun.  There will be a time in my life when I can spend a weekend in DC with Chris going to fine restaurants and stay at a glamorous hotel.  This trip was about eating at hot dog stands and having cupcakes back in our hotel room because we couldn’t make it through dinner AND dessert.  I learned that watching shows on the ipad is a wonderful thing.  And making memories is awesome.  Bradley went to his first Nats game with the “boys” and Ellie LOVED the biggest castle, aka the Washington Monument. 

There is something exhilarating about living out of a hotel suite and then comforting about coming home again.

We survived our first trip as a family of five and actually had a wonderful time.  I would normally have said that I have 100s of photos to sort through.  But really there is about 50 and they aren’t that good.  When you are wearing a baby for half the trip there isn’t a lot of time for photos.  When I do have the energy to edit a few of the 50 I will tell you more about our adventures.  Right now I am just relishing in my sweet family and the inner mama that is learning to let go. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

mommy’s day

there are so many different phases of motherhood.  I remember the first mother’s day that I was just pregnant with bradley.  I couldn’t even feel his little baby kicks yet, but in my heart I was a mother.  I was pregnant and special and chosen.  the next year mother’s day had even more meaning.  I was not officially a mom and couldn’t wait to have a day to be pampered after going through pregnancy, newborn-ness, and the first six months of having a baby in the house.  I was young and happy. 

the following years I wanted to be a mother to more children so badly it hurt.

wishes were granted, prayers were answered.  now this mother’s day 2012, I found myself here...

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I’ve got mother written all over me.  Most days you will find me in my gym clothes, with the hopes that I am going to get to the gym or I have already been there and haven’t had a shower yet.  These said gym clothes are probably covered with a few splatters of baby food and spit up or a good deal of slobber on the shoulder.  I usually have a crumby, overflowing diaper bag in my hand, or a pacifier in my pocket.  If I am showered I usually don’t have on make up or the latest style of clothes.  But, I am happy.  I was chosen.

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I am officially an expert on superheroes, diaper changes, and nap schedules.  I can stop a tantrum in its tracks (sometimes).  I can cut up toddler sized pieces of fruit or hot dogs in my sleep.  I know the power of the bedtime routine and snuggles and baby kisses.  I can change a diaper in the middle of the night with the lights off.

I am a mom to three little ones.  I wear the badge proudly.  And the best picture I have with my kiddos right now happens to be on my phone.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mom’s out there!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raising the White Flag

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Motherhood with three children under the age of 5 is not for everyone.  There are LOTS of diapers, LOTS of tantrums, LOTS of napping babies, all squished together with rollie pollie baby legs.  When I brought Grace home as a newborn I was totally overwhelmed (as most new moms are).  I was tired, sore, and dealing with three children for the first time ever.  After the first few weeks of help, my Mom came every Monday.  She would pick up Bradley from school and help with the girls and drive him to gymnastics.  Between help from her and then had my girlfriend’s mother “Mimi” helping us two to three mornings a week.  She was a life saver, and just what I needed at the time.  She could scoop Ellie up and entertain her, and I felt comfortable leaving her with Grace as a newborn in those first few months.  She has moved on to work with her daughter and help her with her children.  I knew that she would be leaving when Gracie was around five months old, and I figured that I would be back up and on my feet by then.

Whelp, she is now six months old and I am not sure that I am standing firmly on two feet.  Lots of days I feel like my two feet are running really quickly without getting anywhere, or just spinning me around in circles until my head hurts.  Gracie is getting into a napping schedule, which is super wonderful.  She is sleeping through the night, which is doubly wonderful.  Things have gotten easier, they have.  They have also gotten harder in lots of ways too.  Gracie and Ellie’s schedules haven’t meshed well in the past month.  As soon as Ellie is down for her afternoon nap I have about 20 minutes to eat some lunch and then Grace is popping back up.  As much as I try to make them coordinate, Gracie seems to be an earlier riser.  She wakes at 6 am on the dot.  Just like her brother Bradley.  We have adjusted bed times, feedings, etc.  I can’t really complain because she is sleeping 11 1/2 to 12 hours straight.  It is just an extremely long day from 6 am until 8 pm with very little break.

After a lot of sole searching and discussion about handling an entire summer at home with three children I waved the white flag.  How are we going to get to the pool?  How will I keep all three children safe at the pool?How are we going to do just about anything?  We decided to take our preschool money and babysitter money and hire a part time summer nanny.  I know it may seem indulgent, but to me it is simply survival.  I want to look back and know that I enjoyed my children.  I don’t want to be the martyr and think, I can do this whole thing myself and be miserable while doing it.  Sometimes it is hard to ask for help, or even as moms admit that we need help.  But I do right now.  It is what it is.  Three children.  Three months.  One child that naps three times a day for 1 1/2 to 2 hour stretches.  I have been doing lots of research and interviews.  We have tried a few people.  I have someone starting next week.  We are going to basically work together all summer.  Hopefully it is a match.  Until then, it is just me and the babes.

Good thing they are so darn cute, or we wouldn’t race to their cribs at 5:55 am.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sweetness of Summer

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You can almost taste the sweetness of summer these days.  The cool air is slowly turning warm, the sun is shining longer and longer in the evening, and the flowers are blooming all around us.  Lucky for us all of this beautiful weather has made the strawberries jump out earlier this year!  We made it over to the strawberry patch a few weeks ago for our first haul.  This beautiful patch is literally minutes behind our house.  I love this picture, but it doesn’t even do it justice…taken with my iPhone.  The mountains, the green fields, and the rows and rows of strawberries.  I feel so blessed to live nestled near the mountains, close to larger city and all that is has to offer, a neighborhood full of kids and a town center with all the amenities, and then local farms at our back door.  Life is sweet!  I hope our children grow up to fall in love with all that our area has to offer.  I know they may wish for the city and its hustle and bustle someday, but there is something to be said for a slower pace of life.

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Bradley was a rock star and picked only the sweetest and ripest berries.

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Chris did some serious manual labor and picked a whole tray of strawberries while Ellie followed behind him eating them one by one.  She was a strawberry monster and there was nothing that could stand in her way between her and the thousands of strawberries at her disposal.  I’m surprised the farm didn’t charge us extra just based on the way she looked when we got back from the fields.  She was covered in strawberry juice, it was cemented to her arms, hair, and every possible part of her clothing!

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Sweet Grace was along for the trip too. I had forgotten to nurse her before we left, so I pulled the wagon over to the edge of the field and fed her.  Oh third child, I am so sorry.  It was a little warm, and I didn’t have a blanket.  I had to cover her with the Eurgo carrier and make myself look as inconspicuous as possible.  I’m not sure if I pulled it off, but I tried.  I didn’t want to miss out on the fun just to go back to the car to feed her!  The things that you do with the third that you never would have chanced with the first.  It makes me laugh now how hung up I was about feeding Bradley in private and making sure I was properly covered.  Motherhood definitely grows on you over the years and you get more and more comfortable with just going with the flow (so hard for me, but I am trying!!).

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Any trip to the strawberry patch wouldn’t be complete without a pit stop for strawberry donuts (I know, YUMMM!) and some soft serve ice cream.  Bring it on summer!!!