Friday, January 30, 2015

Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?

Today marks 14 years since an adorable eighteen-year-old boy stole my seventeen-year-old heart.

I fell in love almost immediately.

I knew right away I would marry him some day.

And then, we watched, one-at-a-time as the other graduated from high school. Three years after that, with all our friends and family present, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Nine months later, he stood with my family, beaming with pride, as I walked across the stage to graduate from college. A month...and 8 hours later, hands clasped tight, we pulled up in our u-haul to start our new life in a new home. On a warm day in August, one year later, he made me a cup of coffee on my first official day as a teacher. That next summer, he helped zip up my dress and calmed my nerves as I got ready to graduate with a masters degree from UC Davis. 60 days later, he stood at the end of the aisle waiting for me to walk to him so that we could finally start our forever as Mr. and Mrs. One blissful year later, he carried me over the threshold to our very first home. Then, after 14 months...and two hours of pushing, he held my hand and told me to look down and meet our son for the first time. One year later, he wiped the tears from my cheeks and rocked me in his arms as we held our second son for the very first time and said goodbye to him all in the same day. Eleven difficult months passed and then he prayed over me before I entered the operating room. Minutes later we welcomed our beautiful twins into the world. Eleven breathtakingly magical months passed, and he smiled at the kids and me as he accepted his bachelor of arts degree from the chancellor of Chapman. Two years passed and he stifled his giggles as I dissected the possibilities of our first born's first day of kindergarten and held my hand as we walked away, leaving Connor with his teacher, on that August day.

14 years. A million memories. 
A lifetime to come. 

When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?

And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23.


When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don't remember my name
When my hands don't play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Intruders Shot their Dog

Last week, my brother and his wife had the craziest thing happen to them. It was certainly the scariest thing that has ever happened to anyone in my family.

At around 11pm on a Sunday night, their doorbell rang. When my brother went to the door, peeking through the peephole, he found there was a man standing on his porch, who was clearly there to rob them (or worse!). He silently ran back into the bedroom to get his wife out of bed and they attempted to hide and keep themselves safe. Seconds later, they heard a gunshot by their backdoor and heard their dog cry-out. After a second or two, she stopped crying and my brother and his wife assumed their beautiful dog had been killed. Not knowing what to do, and fearing for their life, they ran out of the house, down the street, and attempted to hide in the front yard of a neighbor's house. Three men followed them and started shouting at them. My brother and Rebecca were petrified, thinking that these were the men who had broken into their house and shot their dog. Thankfully, it was actually the neighbors who had followed them (thinking they were the people responsible for the gunshot they had heard). When it was safe to do so, they went back to the house and yard to search for their hero dog and couldn't find her anywhere outside. Nova had come inside the house and was sitting by their front door. She had been shot in the head, but was alive!

After being interviewed by the police, Rebecca took their sweet dog to the vet, where they treated her for her gunshot wound and prepared her for surgery. Days and several hours of surgery later, Nova survived! The bullet went in through her snout and out her jaw. She lost part of her tongue and still has a bit of a road to recovery ahead of her, but it is a miracle that she survived.

She is a hero to us all!! Because the gunmen shot her and had made such a loud noise in a small neighborhood, they were forced to flee and were unable to come into my brother's house where he and his wife were hiding. I think my brother said it best when he said, "My dog literally took a bullet for me."

There are so many questions my brother and his wife still have, and unfortunately they will most likely never get answers - because the shooters were never caught. Police are unsure if it was meant to be a robbery or a home invasion, but there are some take-away's from the experience that we can all learn from.

(1) Put lights everywhere on the front of your house. Put one on your patio. Put one on your garage. Put one on any side gates anyone can get to. And DO NOT TURN them off when you go to bed.

(2) Get an alarm. Better yet, get a panic button that can be pushed, in order to immediately notify the police (Rebecca's phone shattered during a moment of complete panic and they didn't have any way to call 911).

(3) Lock your side gates so that no one can get into your yard (where they can break into your house without being seen from the street).

(4) Get a hero dog! I'm only kidding about that last one, but a friend of mine whose dad is a retired police officer said that small yippy dogs are actually the best because they make a lot of noise and are hard to catch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Midweek Randoms

There is nothing better than freshly bathed babies in their jammies, snuggling up to you in bed. 
 A few days ago Connor was in his room making all sorts of noise. He was hopping around, jumping off the top bunk of his bed, and just NOT going down for a nap. I brought him into my room and asked if he wanted to hold my hand. Five minutes later, he was OUT. "Good," I thought. "I'll just take a quick nap." Famous last words. Right? Minutes later, Isabella walked in my door wide awake. Story of my life.
 We have this new pizza place called Blaze and I really like it. You go in (kinda like a chipotle) and pick out your ingredients in an assembly line and they make the pizza for you right there. They then fire it in a 900 degree oven for 180 seconds. It's awesome because you get your very own pizza with all the toppings you want!
 On mornings when I run, I usually come home and make my coffee and take it into the warm shower with me. This is not only practical, as it saves time, but it's such a fun way to enjoy a warm cup of coffee.
My playroom is only clean for exactly 11 hours a day and that's while all the kids are sleeping. We clean it before bed and by morning, it looks like this, below. Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels like I clean just for the sake of cleaning. Sometimes I just feel like, what's the point?
 I've been really good about meal planning for lunch the last six weeks. I'm finally in a groove of making my salads and prepping for lunch on Sundays, so that I'm ready for the week. I make enough for Mr. Howard and me to take four days a week.
 It had been forever since I had made the kids Acai Bowls for breakfast (they call them breakfast ice cream) and so hubby and I woke up early last week and made them for the kids. They get SO excited about it!!
Hubby and I have a goal that we'll do an at-home Date Night once a week and the past month it's been hard. But then, we found two nights in a row to spend time together on the couch, cuddling and talking. The first night we put the kids to bed early and rented Maze Runner. We both liked the movie a lot. 
The other night we watched a few shows we had saved  of Alaska Off-Road Warriors. We got a fire going and had some wine and just spent time together. We're go-go-go-go-go 98% of the time and so it's nice to finally have a bit of time to just cuddle.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meandering

My little sister and I took the kids on a hike a few weeks ago. 
 I am a firm believer in hikes being good for the soul. If ever there was an appropriate time to reference Ralph Waldo Emerson, surely this is it (and, let me tell you, the English teacher in me sits around WAITING for any chance I have to quote Emerson). "To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom." It isn't about the destination; it's about the journey.
Sometimes with little kids, I forget that. I'm so busy getting to where I need to be...so busy crossing to-do's off my list, that I sometimes forget to cherish the journey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Midweek Randoms

So much has happened and I just can't seem to keep up with blogging this week. I love writing; it's my favorite thing to do - and even when I'm just writing about what I did that week or what we did on a particular outing, it's nice to write something other than lesson plans, or grocery lists, or one sentence Facebook status updates. And I hate when I don't have time to do it all. 

Our lives have been crazy. But not crazy as in fun parties, exciting outings, and wild adventures. Although, I guess one could call my life a wild adventure most days. Ha! You should see what an adventure it is taking three hungry children into the grocery store on a day when we have no milk and all three of them are on the verge of their 19,345,691th meltdown. If there's one word to describe that, W-I-L-D would definitely be it! No, but really, my evenings consist of this below. How am I old enough to be that mom sitting at the dining room table, helping my child with his homework?!? Aren't I too young for that? Every night, this is where you'll find us. Well, until baseball starts. 
Last Monday, we hosted a Monday Night Football party, which mainly consisted of the boys watching football, while I wrangled munchkins. Hubby requested I make nothing healthy. He actually used those words. He asked for appetizer-ish food and I obliged. PS. If you haven't made those ham and swiss sandwiches with poppy seeds, you are missing out. They are amazing! You can find the recipe EVERYWHERE.
Last week, my husband and brother went snowboarding in Tahoe. They sent me pictures like this one below all day, while I was working - just to further illustrate the point that they are cooler than me. I'm not sure why they bother; everyone knows they're cooler than me.
Speaking of cooler than me. My meanie children have decided that in the battle of who is the cooler parent, Daddy has won. Why is it that? What makes Daddy so cool?!? Anytime I tell them I'm picking them up from school that day, a mini tantrum occurs as they all try to be the first one to say, "WHY CAN'T DADDY PICK US UP?!?" Supposedly, though, when my husband tells them he's picking them up from school, they say, "Why can't MAMA get us?!?" So apparently they're just in a "grass is always greener" phase. Or at least that's what my incredibly intelligent husband says when he's trying to butter me up before bed. I kid...I kid. But really my heart just melts that they love him so much!
 My parents went out of town last week and all my siblings and I thought that would be the perfect time to get together at their house for a party. We took this selfie and then texted it to them. You know, because, obviously an event didn't happen unless there's a selfie to prove it...Kinda like if a tree falls in the middle of the forest, and there was no one there to take a selfie next to the tree, did it REALLY happen?
 Aiden. Goodness gracious. That child. I have never met such a vocally sweet child. Ever. His favorite thing to tell you is that he missed you. "Mama, I missed you today..." "Grandfather, where were you? I missed you!" And he'll come up out of nowhere, plant a kiss on your cheek, climb in your lap and say, "Mama, I love you!" and burry his head in your neck for five minutes. NONE of my other kids do that. But boy is that child also my biggest tester. If he isn't testing me; he's thinking about how he CAN test me. If he isn't being mischievous; he's making a master plan for how he CAN be mischievous. It's crazy. That child figured out, on his own, how to open a lock in our house (by unplugging his lamp, walking the entire heavy lap over to the door, and using the plug-side as a key, twisting it on the back of the door -  in order to twist open the lock). Seriously. There's no child safety lock that will keep him out of anything. Nothing is too high for him to climb. He's going to be something super important when he grows up. Like maybe a master ninja warrior. Okay. Maybe that's a bit dramatic. Definitely something in the CIA. You think I'm kidding. This photo below sums up how our month has been going.
 Seven nights a week, I have something going on. If I'm not rushing home to make dinner and do homework with Connor/baths/and bedtime with the kids, then I'm going to a meeting after school, or teaching after school interventions, or running to the post office, or heading over to a union meeting, or staying after work to work on the yearbook, or enter grades, or...well, you get the point. So, you can imagine how nice it is when what I'm rushing of to is a haircut and color. I sit in a chair for two hours and just have girl talk with my hairdresser. It's pretty much the only night every 8 weeks that I have a complete 100% break. And it's heavenly. My appointment was last week and I'm kinda thinking 8 weeks is just too long a time to go. RIGHT? No one likes roots. I'm really only trying to look out for the people forced to look at my hair.
What have YOU been up to?!?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thanks for the Giggles

A few days after Christmas, while Mr. Howard's parents were here, we decided to take the kids to the snow for the day! Off we headed to Tahoe! It's only a couple hour drive from our house, so it makes for a pretty simple day trip (although, really, we need to probably take them back and spend the night so they can play longer).

The weather was really beautiful. It was in the 30's (which is what it was in Sacramento too!), and in the sun it felt pretty nice.

 Mr. Howard's parents came with us and braved the cold to see the kids play and sled in the snow!
 The kids LOVED the snow. Their only complaint was that their hands were cold. Next time we go, we'll need gloves (last time we went, they all took off their gloves and wouldn't wear them, so we didn't even bring them with us! Oops!).
 So my funny story from the day was that we asked a group of young men to take a big family photo of us. One of the guys smiled and said he'd be happy to. When I got the phone back, I saw the selfie he had taken (photo bottom right). HILARIOUS! Hubby said I should take a selfie, so we could make him part of our little family on the blog too. I still giggle when I see that photo of him.
Welcome to our little family, dude. Thanks for the giggles.
We're planning another trip to play in the snow soon! Here is a timelapse video of every single person in my little family of five sledding:
video

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When I was a teenager I told my parents I would never...and I kept my word!

We had a momentous day a week or so ago and it blows my mind! I keep reaching these milestones with my kids and I keep thinking, "how did it go this fast? How are we HERE already?"

I know it might not seem like a big deal to some. But these days are just flying by and suddenly I blink and I have two three-year-olds and a five-year-old. In a blink. It's crazy.

Isabella got her ears pierced a few days after the New Year. She's been talking about it for a while now and then for Christmas, her Pop Pop got her earrings and we thought it would be the perfect time! I wasn't sure how she'd handle it or if she'd cry - but I figured now might be better than in a year or two.

When I was 12 or 13 and got my ears pierced, I remember telling (probably in a shouty voice) my dad that I would never make my kids wait until they were 12 to get their ears pierced. *It's so fun looking back at all the things you told your parents you were NEVER going to do (like the time I told my mom and dad I would NEVER enjoy going to home depot... and then ate my own words when I bought my first home and loved walking around home depot looking at all the things I wanted to buy).* Well, unlike the millions of things I shouted at my parents I would never do, and then immediately did upon becoming an adult and Mommy, this was something I kept my word on.

I clearly remember getting my ears pierced. I can still feel how big of a deal it was. I remember the anxiety about it and the complete fear I had built up about getting it done. Well, my sweet Isabella is a ball of anxiety. It's something we work on a lot with her; we have to give her a heads up any time she's going to do something new and we constantly work through her anxiety with her in social situations. Honestly, I didn't think that anxiety over getting her ears pierced would be good for her. Why let her build something up so much and create a fear in her I knew she didn't need? So we decided to let her do it while she was still little.

Isabella handled it like a pro. Not one single tear was shed. Nothing. And when it was done, she smiled and showed off her earrings, as if it was no big deal. I am pretty sure I cried like a baby when I had it done and I was 3 times her age. Haha! What a big girl!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Midweek Randoms

Midweek Randoms. On a Tuesday. Ha! That's midweek, right? It's also my very first post of 2015!

First of all, Happy New Year. 2014 was such an amazing year for my family and I can't wait to see what this year brings for us. 

We had the most exciting New Year's Eve one could possibly have! We put the kids to bed at 7, had sushi appetizers, and cooked artichokes and steak. We sipped our wedding champagne (the kind - not the actual bottles) from our wedding flutes and celebrated on the couch. We know how to PARTAYYYYY. There will be a season for a different kind of partying, but 2015 was not that season.
One goal I have set for myself this year is to do more half marathons than I did in 2014. In 2013, I did one half marathon. In 2014, I did two halfs and I'd like to do at least three in 2015. To kick off that goal, I am starting my official training for the Shamrock'n very soon. If I went by the same training I did last year, I would need to have started a few weeks ago, but since I'm already doing 6-9 miles on the weekend, I'm already ahead of where I need to be. What I need to get under control are my weekly runs! I have lots of excuses. My kids are waking up with nightmares; I can't sleep at night; I take turns playing, "put the toddler to bed" in the middle of the night; and, of course, the biggest - I am just so tired! But really, no excuse is valid. I need to get my bootie in gear when that alarm goes off at 5am! I'm pretty sure I sense a theme about this topic over the last few weeks. 
My number one relationship goal in 2015 is to execute more creative dates. We're really good about making our relationship intentional. We've mastered taking time out of our busy schedules to be together. But I just want our dates to be a little more exciting and creative. So I'm going to be working on that! Any ideas? 
We had the absolute best Christmas break and I can honestly say it was by far my favorite break in a long time. The kids are old enough to enjoy the season! We were able to do so much and I was able to run in the mornings without worrying about sleep (since I knew I could rest during the day!). It definitely gave me a little glimpse into what my world would be like as a stay-at-home Mama! My favorite part was that the kids were able to be a little independent (just don't leave them unattended for too long or you might come upstairs to find this:)
Don't worry though. Thankfully I have a heavy duty carpet cleaner, which has been a life saver more times than I can count. Here's what it looked like afterwards.
We spent a lot of time cuddling, watching movies, and just playing together! I had a couple projects I wanted  to get done, but only got one of them done. I'm not even going to stress about that, though, because I did a lot of something I don't get to do enough - and that's just spend time with my littles. Here was the one project I completed! The kids use our linen closet to grab blankets, sheets, etc. for their forts they're constantly building and it's left it in disarray. This closet has never really been organized, because it always seemed like an uphill battle. But then I had a genius thought! I came up with a "fort basket" that they can use. They're not allowed to touch anything, but what's in that fort basket. See. Genius, I tell you!
I may not have tackled organization projects and cleaning tasks, but don't worry. I have my priorities straight. My three-year-old and I practiced how to do the perfect kissy-face selfie. Clearly we need to practice more before we'll have it perfected. 
One morning we even had donuts the size of the kids' heads. Haha. Look how big it is compared to Isabella. 
Of course, like any good thing - it must come to an end. I am back to working full time with those middle schoolers, who like to keep me on my toes. We're about to dive head-first into yearbook pre-sales and it's always a bit exhausting for me, since the kids can't touch the money and receipt book. I can't even believe we're already half way done with this school year! Holy Moly.

Happy New Year, friends! I hope this is the year where all your goals are achieved!

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