Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Midweek Randoms

How is it already midweek again? Goodness gracious! It's 3am and I can't sleep, so I thought I'd get my post done for the week. 

I have been loving "You Won't be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I'm sure if my dad read my blog, he'd shake a finger at me and say, "I told you some day you'd love it!" I'm also loving Thomas Rhett's "Die a Happy Man." 

I am struggling big time with Isabella in ballet. She will talk about ballet all week, practice the dance moves, and be so excited and then the morning comes and she doesn't want to go. I'm struggling with the balance of not wanting to make her do something she doesn't want to do...and teaching her to push through her fear of doing the unknown - since I know, in her heart, she really does want to do it; she's just scared. I don't want her to miss out on things because she lets the anxiety get the best of her. Yikes. Hard Mama decision. My mom is going to take her this upcoming Saturday to see if that makes a difference! She is ridiculously adorable though!
Last week, I found this note sitting on my desk. Teaching middle school means I don't get fun notes as often anymore - partly because they're in a different developmental stage (where teachers are annoying and uncool) and partly because I don't teach the same group of students all day; I only have them for two periods. Notes like this make me smile and remind me why I teach.
Last week I texted Mr. Howard an S.O.S. message. I had had a horrible day. He surprised me by having a bottle of wine ready when I got home.
Connor is in the coolest engineering class and they basically do building and problem-solving type tasks every week. Last week they built solar powered transformer robots! Connor definitely is learning so much and doesn't even know it! He just thinks he's playing!
This week, since Mr. Howard had to coach a soccer game and I had to be at ballet with Isabella at the exact same time...and Aiden needs an adult's undivided attention, I asked my neighbor if she and her son would do a play date with Aiden. And boy-oh-boy was he thrilled. He's asked me every day since when he's going back to Bryson's house. I can't wait until he gets to pick out an activity to do in the Winter! Out of all three kids, I think he'll be the most excited about having his very own activity to do each week!
Connor lost another tooth! This is big, folks! Two toothfairy visits in two weeks!
Moms, please tell me I'm not the only one who has this view below. I'm chopped liver when Mr. Howard is around. The kids tend to ask me ALL the questions, "mama what is for dinner?"..."Mama, I need to bring money for my field trip!"..."Mommy, Isabella's poking me!"..."Mommy I have to read a book for tomorrow..." and I can't even pee without having a kid standing in the bathroom (or knocking...or putting their hands under the door, squealing "Mommyyyy are you in there????) But when it comes time to hold hands to cross the street or sit on the couch, if Daddy is available NO ONE wants me. I know it shouldn't bother me, because Lord knows all I want is a minute to myself when I'm home by myself with the kids, but man-oh-man, sometimes it doesn't feel great.

This past weekend my sister, her boyfriend, my mom, the kids, hubby and I all went out to Yard House for lunch! I had this amazing yummy sushi! YUM!
My sister did her very first 10k and we were so bummed that we couldn't meet her at the finish line!! We are going to need to do a run together!
Afterwards we did our annual Kirkpatrick Pumpkin Patch visit! My dad couldn't come, because he was in a cast. He was missed!
Normally we all wear pumpkin patch shirts (or Happy Halloween shirts!), but it was so hot. It was over 90 and so hubby just couldn't wear a black shirt (I don't blame him. I was dying!). I'll post the pumpkin patch photos when I get them from my sister!
And then on Sunday we were going to do a barbecue with our neighbors, but we decided to do it next weekend. Instead, my little family went offroading with Casey and three of his kids! No one ever complains when we go offroading! We tried to get the kids in the photo below, but they were being little stinkers!
Alright, I am off to a training this morning - so I better get going!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

End of Week Randoms

We've had a busy week! Last Friday Connor had a day where his school was closed, so he came with me to work! He always loves coming to play and my middle schoolers are obsessed with him.

I found the absolute funniest photo Connor took of himself while I was teaching. He had just lost his tooth; can you tell?
I also found about 42 different versions of this photo (with me in the background) and his lego garage on my desk!
Mr. Howard and I have had two different nights when we put the kids to bed early and crawled on the couch together and snuggled with a movie.
I posted this on instagram, but thought you all should see it too. Ha! This was me at 7am. I had already gotten all three kids ready, showered, dressed, typed stuff up for the soccer game, got Isabella ready for ballet, fed them breakfast, and cleaned the kitchen and our bedroom. I was already exhausted and hadn't even had a sip of coffee yet. We all needed naps that day; mommy needed them more than anyone!
Isabella did a bit better in ballet. She agreed to go out once or twice and made progress, which I was thrilled about!
Here she was sitting with the girls! I was so proud of her for being so brave!
I snapped this photo! I was holding Daddy's hand and Isabella kept trying to interlace her fingers with ours. Sweet girl.
Last weekend, hubby and I went and picked up take-out sushi, put the kids to bed early, and had a corona and sushi date night. I've said this before, but the way to my heart is simple: buy me sushi!
My little handsome cuddlebug has been loving on his Mommy lately. I am pretty sure that this week I'm his favorite! Hey I'll take it when I can get it...since I'm usually chopped liver when Daddy is around.
This little stinker-doodle has been uber clingy lately and only wants to be touching me. She's pretty much in my lap every minute of every day. And if she's not in Mommy's lap, she's in her Daddy's.
I had a meeting last week and hubby stayed home with the kids. I got this text in the middle of my looooooooong meeting. 
 Another day before soccer, I snapped these of Daddy and the kids!
 Love all of them:
Wow! I just realized how many selfies we took with the kids this week! Ha! I guess we were in a picture-taking mood! I try to remember when she's crawling in my lap...and I haven't had any alone time...and all I want to do is reach over and pick something up without a kid in my lap - that the days are long, but the years are short and before I know it she won't want to cuddle with me at all any more! I will be so heartbroken when that day comes!
 We have a huge L shaped couch with enough seating for 8 people, but the kids always squeeze together on one tiny section. It's really adorable!
On Friday, we had a bit of a bummer! When I was dropping Isabella off at preschool, I bent down to brush her hair and realized that her earring was gone. I said, "Isabella, when did your earring fall out?" and felt her ear and realized it hadn't fallen out. It was still there (in fact, in this picture below, her earring is in). Can't see it? Yep! It had embedded itself inside the middle of her ear and you couldn't pull it out or push it through. We switched insurances a couple months ago and I hadn't even had a chance to get a pediatrician yet, so instead of heading into work Friday - I spent the morning finding the kids a sutter pediatrician and then getting her an appointment in the doctor's office. Thankfully, the pediatrician was able to work his magic and basically force it through (with antibacterial ointment)! Isabella was so brave and didn't even shed a tear during the whole thing! And the bonus was that I absolutely adore their new pediatrician and got all their wellness visits scheduled for the next couple weeks. Nothing like a forced emergency to get Mommy's butt in gear with finding a doctor!
Pretty much our week consists of work, homework, cooking, soccer, ballet, and lots and lots of errands - with the occasional emergency or unexpected excitement! It's a busy season of life!

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Grief is the price we pay for love"

Grief doesn't always seem to make sense. The things I think will bother me, don't. And the things I think will be easy, sometimes take every ounce of strength out of me.

On Thursday, Cole's birthday, I had one of those car rides into work, where I just couldn't help but smile. All the music that came on the radio made me feel such peace about the day. Then I went to work and survived. I had a lot to keep my mind busy and really didn't have a whole lot of down time to be stressed or upset.
What I had been dreading for that entire week, was going to the cupcake store to pick out cupcakes, because I always let each of our littles pick out their own cupcakes. I knew that this would mean that Mr. Howard and I were going to have to pick out a cupcake for Cole and for obvious reasons, this seemed to overwhelm me. But, after work, as I stood at the counter, looking at the adorable man who was helping us with cupcakes, I felt oddly at peace. We picked Cole out the cutest cupcake with oreo cookie crumb dirt and a gummy worm, which seemed to perfectly fit what a five-year-old would love. I got in the car and felt total peace. "Maybe, just maybe," I thought, "I would get through the entire day without any tears." 
And that's why grief is so strange. 

Because, later, as we lit the candles (which we've done ever since year since he was born), and blew them out (which we've done ever since he was born), I burst out into tears and just couldn't do it. I can't really describe it, other than to say I felt like I couldn't breath and there was absolutely no way I could blow out the candles on his birthday cupcake. It took everything in me not to crumple to the ground. And as each child took turns looking at my quiet husband to ask, "why is Mommy crying?" I continued to sob harder. 
It isn't fair that he isn't there to blow out his own cupcakes. It isn't fair that, as a Mommy, I have to be here without him. And it isn't fair that people won't ever get to know him. (In full disclosure...I took this photo on the 18th, since I was sobbing on his actual birthday, and in no place to take a photo).

I take comfort in knowing, however, that we are showered in love and blessings. I can't tell you how many text messages, facebook messages, instagram messages, and hugs I got on his birthday. Every year I wonder if people will be thinking, "Gosh. When will she get over it?" and am blown away repeatedly by how many people wrap us in loving thoughts that day. It is because of all our friends and family that we not only survive the day, but have moments of laughter, light, and happiness in spite of our sadness. I know we are not alone in grief and, somehow, that makes it feel bearable. After all, "grief is the price we all pay for love."

Friday, September 18, 2015

End of Week Randoms

I am currently obsessed with Lauren Daigle's First and Old Dominion's Break Up with Him

Last week my handsome hubby and I arranged for my sister and mom to watch the kids so that we could go out to a comedy club and bar with Mr. Howard's coworkers, to celebrate his top sales' people! It was SO much fun! We saw Keon Polee, a hilarious comedian! I really need to be better about organizing sitters and getting out of the house; it really is so nice. Isn't my husband HOT? 
 I haven't laughed that hard in a LONG long time.
We ripped out all the carpet in our playroom, stairs, and (partially in our) bedroom. My job was to sit on each step and use a flat head screw driver and hammer to pull up all the nail-strips. FUN!
Connor lost his very first tooth and the toothfairy came! 
He left his pillow with the tooth for the toothfairy and was so excited to see money when he awoke!
Isabella was SO excited about ballet. She wanted to go with Nana and me to pick out her ballet shoes and outfits. Unfortunately, last minute, I realized there was no time for my mom to go, so just Izzy and I went. She couldn't wait to pick out all her dance stuff!
And then, Saturday came and it was time for ballet! There were many tears shed, but I wouldn't expect anything different. My beautiful littlest girl is always apprehensive about trying new things. She wouldn't go out with the instructors or other little girls, but as long as she was within twelve inches of me the entire time, she would at least try the dance moves - which is all I could have asked. Next week she assures me she's ready to go out with the other little girls. 
Connor played in his very first soccer game and Mr. Howard coached his very first soccer game. And they won, which made my awesome hubby feel a little better about coaching. Not that it would have mattered, but as a first time coach, he would have felt horribly if his team went out there and lost 10-1 or something. 
As parents, Mr. Howard and I are pretty consistent and regimented about a lot of things. But, there's one thing I firmly believe in and that's balance. Before becoming a mommy, I always thought it'd be so fun to have ice cream for dinner once or twice a year! And we made that a reality last weekend. Connor had cake batter with pretzels and graham crackers. Isabella had cake batter with fruit loops and cocoa puffs. Aiden had plain jane vanilla with potato chips! And Mr. Howard and I had hot glazed donuts with ice cream inside. Oh holy goodness. And because it was my dinner, I didn't feel guilty eating it!
Over Labor Day, I had ONE day to sorta sleep in and I was so excited. Unfortunately, I had a six-year-old in my bed at barely 4am (which I call "the middle of the night") poking my face and giggling. By barely 5am I was ready for a ginormous vat of coffee! 
Speaking of Labor Day, I went to the absolute best teaching conference I have ever been to in my entire life! It was called Shakespeare Works When Shakespeare Plays and is put on by different Shakespeare Foundations and groups from all over the US. Some of the presenters were the education directors of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, the Utah Shakespeare Company, American Shakespeare Company, Bard on the Beach (in Massachusetts) and even some from the Globe Theater in the UK. It was spectacular!! Here we were constructing the different types of blood one might find in different parts in Hamlet. We had to "dissect" the text and figure out based on the scene and text we were given, what type of blood we needed to create (had the blood been on the person for a long time? Did it need to ooze out on stage? Or did it happen in an earlier scene?). It was the absolute coolest idea to get kids to investigate text!
If you've been watching the news about Northern California, you'll probably have seen a couple things. 1) We are in the worst drought we've seen in YEARS. 2) We have several horrible fires going in our area right now. It has really made our weather unpredictable and some days it's just been too bad to even go outside. This particular day looked horrible. The sky was so bad. But the actual smoke smell wasn't there, thankfully. All I can do is think about all those firefighters who have to be in that smoke all day. Gosh I hope they can put them out quickly.
Happy Friday! I'm off to pick up a movie for the kids, hubby, and me! 

A Sad Happy Day

Saturday was a happy sad day for us!

But first, let me give you the back story. We got Reese, a "rottweiler" and queensland heeler puppy, when she was only eight weeks old. We adopted her from a family who couldn't keep her any longer! We loved her and we were so overjoyed to finally have the love that a dog brings, back into our lives. And then, as Reese got older a couple things became apparent. (1) She was not a rottweiler. (2) She was VERY high energy. (3) She was a herder. (4) We were really struggling to train her. Let me first say that I have NEVER EVER given up on any dog that we've ever adopted (and Reese was our fourth dog!), but it became really apparent VERY quickly, that not only was Reese not making us very happy, we weren't making HER very happy. We discovered she was actually a German Shepard and when combining the German Shepard with the heeler, it made her a complete herder. Normally that wouldn't be a big problem - especially since we don't have other animals for her to herd. But, we have kids. And she herded them constantly. Anyone who spent longer than five minutes at our house, saw how crazy it was. She'd bite the kids' toes and grab ahold of their arms and physically move them together. Every. Minute. Of. The. Day.
I'd actually have to wake up early, get the kids one-by-one out of their room, and carry them downstairs, where they'd stand on the chairs, far away from Reese. Because, if I didn't, she'd bite their feet (hard) and run around and try to get them to form a circle. Then, after breakfast, I'd have to carry them outside to the garage one-by-one, so that then Reese wouldn't get them again. This happened every single day, every second of the day. It was so stressful. 
We, initially, thought we could train some of it out of her and signed her up for training class. But it became even more apparent that as long as we had kids, there were some things we weren't going to be able to train out of her at home. She was so smart and would pick up everything instantly at class! And if I took her to the park by myself, man-oh-man she was just so smart and quick! But the second we'd go back home and our four-year-old twins would scream and do all the wrong things, Reese would be right back to herding them. Connor would cry every morning, every afternoon, and every evening. The twins would climb on furniture to get her away from her and Isabella would wail as she'd still try to jump on the couch to bite her feet. Aiden would scream if she even looked at him across the room (MAMA, REESE IS LOOKING LIKE SHE'S GOING TO BITE ME!). It was insane. 

She is such a smart dog, but she had more energy than what we could handle. And, suddenly, I had an epiphany. I was trying to make it work with her for MY benefit, not hers. Maybe she'd be happier somewhere else. So I talked to a few people and found a German Shepard Rescue foundation that would be willing to adopt her out for a fee. And then I was telling my sister and her boyfriend about it all and they suggested they do a trial adoption of her! I was elated and thrilled because they have an acre of land and no kids and knew she'd be so much happier there. And, selfishly, the kids would still get to see her. 

It's still early on - because we only dropped her off Sunday, but so far she is loving her sister, Khaleesi, and her brother Symba and is definitely loving all the land she has to run around on. 
Photo by Awe Captures Photography
We'll definitely miss the love and excitement she brought to our lives. 
And my baby sister is a freaking saint for agreeing to have THREE dogs! I can't imagine.
So far it is going well! She is learning a lot from the other dogs and my sister and her boyfriend are home all day, so they've been able to work with her. We bought her a little log puppy house for their porch, so she'll have a nice cozy home, when she wants to rest from all the running she's been doing on their acre of land.

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