Monday, November 30, 2015

The man sweetly told me I was "Brave." Brave isn't always the word I'd use to describe myself.

For Thanksgiving this year my entire Kirkpatrick family decided to spend the holiday at my little brother's house! Since I had the whole week off and since hubby had a training in Southern California the week before Thanksgiving, I decided to go down the Saturday before the holiday. I drove by myself with three littles! I was particularly proud of myself because we left at 5am. You can see in the picture of my map that it was pitch black out! You can also see that at 5:13am, we still had 8 hours remaining (which really is 9 hours when you stop for lunch and bathroom breaks along the way).

When I arrived in the warm 85 degree Palm Springs, I met my husband (whom I had spent two weeks apart from - due to his traveling!), father-in-law, brother, and sister-in-law and they immediately offered to take the kids to the pool, so that I could shower and have some alone time! It was my first break in weeks. The kids were so excited to see everyone!!
While the boys were at the pool, Mr. Howard called and said I should go get a manicure and pedicure with my sister-in-law. You do NOT have to ask me twice!! It took a lot longer than we thought it was going to take, but I was thrilled. I would have been happy to stay there for an entire day! Haha. 

Mr. Howard's dad is in Palm Springs doing work, so we were able to spend time with him! We all met for a yummy breakfast at an old favorite Keedys. Connor is obsessed with his Uncle Colin!
I went to Palm Springs to visit my brother and sister-in-law last June, but Mr. Howard had to work. So he hadn't been back to our home city in several years! A few years ago, they rebuilt his high school right next to the old buildings, then knocked down the old buildings and built sport's fields. We hadn't been by to see the new school - so we had to check it out! The kids were very impressed (ha!) with their Daddy's Alma Mater. All the buildings are really beautiful, but it's bazaar because we don't recognize anything! 
After spending a day together, hubby had to fly back home to work. So Aiden and I headed to the airport to take him home! That night Aiden slept in the bed with me and Connor and Isabella slept together on my floor. I seriously could have photographed them every single day, because it was just too funny looking at their positions. P.S. sleeping children make my heart go pitter patter. 
On Monday, I took the kids to the Living Desert. It was fun for me, but the kids were not impressed. They were warm and tired and their "legs hurt" and they "didn't want to walk anymore" and they wanted to know when they could go home. Ha! Not one of my best ideas ever. But I enjoyed it! Plus, because we are members of our zoo in Sacramento, we got half off admission to the Living Desert! (P.S. ALWAYS ask zoos if they give discounts for members of another zoo!).
Despite the kids' lack of enthusiasm for the Living Desert, they were pretty impressed with that cactus above! In fact, they were pretty excited about ALL the cacti! Connor snapped this photo below of me, Aiden, and Isabella. 
There's a part in the Living Desert where you can go out into the desert and just walk around.  I snapped this gorgeous photo of Isabella. It's one of my favorites! I never appreciated the mountains growing up. To me, they were normal; I had never lived anywhere else. And then I moved away and I realized that not everyone has this in their backyard! I so appreciate the beauty of the mountains now!
The next day I had a much more intelligent idea to take them to the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert. We got there when it opened, stayed until lunch, and then came back in the afternoon for another three hours! We could have easily gone back again too. It was the best money I spent the whole time! I can't even type out all the exhibits they had, but my kids' favorites were the flying scarves (you could put colored scarves in their air machine and they'd fly up in the air), the pizza making restaurant, the science exhibit where they could do some electricity experiments, and the archaeology dig! Seriously. If you haven't gone to this museum, go!
On Tuesday, my sister-in-law's sister arrived from Texas, so the kids and I went to stay in the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs. The valet at the hotel saw me checking in alone and sweetly told me I was brave. He emphasized the brave part when he saw me carrying one twin on my hip, a bag on my other arm, a suitcase behind me, and two other kids trailing behind. Brave isn't always the word I'd use to describe myself. Hahah! I've never stayed in a hotel by myself with the kids, so it was definitely an adventure! But all-in-all it was pretty good. Checking in was kind of funny because I was only supposed to have two kids with me AND the reservation was under my husband's name. Thankfully the man checking me in agreed to check me in anyway (it may have had something to do with the fact that I had little people at my feet and it was 8pm!). Thank goodness! 
The next day, the kids and I went out to breakfast at the IHOP I used to go to as a kid (the one literally four minutes from my old house)! Then we met Becca's sister and kids at the house, while I let all the kids help me bake my Aunt's famous seven layer cookies! Aiden, Isabella, Connor, and Jake (my brother's nephew) all had a different job! I couldn't have made those cookies without them. ;-)
In between cookie baking, I basically hogged this sweet almost-one-year-old. Oh goodness gracious I had missed having a baby in my arms! I pretty much held her every second I could!
 And then, finally, it was time to pick up my husband from the airport again!! Hooray!!
I'll do a separate post on Thanksgiving day, but the day after we went to do family photos! My kids, and specifically Aiden in this photo below, clearly do not understand how cacti work. But someone pointed out to me, oh-so-correctly, that at least it attached to his shoe and not his leg! Yes!
After our family photos, my entire Kirkpatrick family went to my high school, where they were having an Alumni luncheon and Alumni Basketball game! Here we all were:
For a man who keeps telling me he's not ready for another baby, my husband sure did snuggle and love on her every single second he could. I'm telling you, it was kind of annoying how much we hogged her. 
My sister had a different one of the kids spend the night with her every single night, so that we only had two kids in the hotel. It was so very sweet of her and helped us out so much! Plus they were all excited to get some time with Aunt Katie and Andy alone.
The last day we were in Palm Springs we walked to Peabody's Cafe on Palm Canyon. Our house, growing up, was 2.5 minutes from Palm Canyon - so it's where I spent countless hours. We'd go to the starbucks on the street...my hair dresser was there...the bookstore we'd frequent was on that road...our family dinner's out were spent there. It's surreal to be a tourist in the town  you were born and raised in, but oh-so-much-fun too!
I have a million and one memories in Palm Springs. It's where I was born...and said my first words...it's where I became a sister and where my parents nurtured and supported me...it's where I had my first crush...my first valentine...and where I fell in love with my husband...it's where I played sports and found a passion for English...it was the home I ran to after my first year of college. It's even the place I went to visit right after Cole passed away. It doesn't matter how long I've been away or how infrequently I get to visit- I still consider it my home.
And just like that, it was time to go back to Northern California. The drive that should have taken us 9 hours took us almost 11 (because of Thanksgiving traffic) and about 6 of those hours were spent refereeing our fighting children in the back. Hubby and I snapped this when we still had five hours left. If we could have jumped ship, we would have!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

They obviously don't get that from their daddy!

Eek I'm behind in posting! Way behind.

On Veteran's Day while Mr. Howard was out of town for work, I took the twins to their four-year-old well visit. We switched insurances this summer, when hubby took a new job, and needed to find the kids a pediatrician. So this well visit should have happened months ago! But such is life.

Isabella was 32 lbs (15th percentile) and 40.8 inches (50th percentile) height.

Aiden was 33.8 lbs (25th percentile) and 41 inches (50th percentile) height. 

Isabella also got her vaccines at the visit, but Aiden was too sick with a cold and cough to get them at the visit. She didn't cry at all. She was so super brave! I couldn't believe it (and yet, I can because she didn't cry when getting her ears pierced either). So when it was Aiden's turn a few weeks later, he was EXCITED! I'm not even kidding. He was thrilled because he watched his sister do it easily and happily. I was worried because he thought it was going to be fun (he even told his preschool teachers how happy he was), but you know what? Perhaps going into it excited is the right way to be?! Because it worked. He didn't cry at all. He was super brave. Obviously, neither of my twins got Daddy's needle scaredy-cat gene!
All in all, it was a successful two visits!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Midweek Randoms

Last weekend we carved pumpkins before Halloween. I forgot to post these on my last Midweek Randoms post. Oops!

I had to post this photo below. Hubby was in a silly mood at 6:45 one Saturday morning and he was making me laugh while we were drinking our coffee. He continued to snap away moving his head a million different ways. He snapped this one on the bottom right and I couldn't help but laugh. Real Life. This is my "SERIOUSLY. Stop taking photos" look.
After coffee, we went to soccer. Technically hubby and I coach the team, but thankfully another parent stepped up to assistant coach and so I've taken over the role of Team Manager. I will be thankful when the season is over because it's a lot of responsibility and with Mr. Howard's crazy travel schedule, it's left me in charge by myself. It has been a great experience for Mr. Howard and I think he's realized he definitely has a knack for leading people (young and old!). It's also given him great perspective on what I do for a living and how difficult it is to get little people to listen to you and sit still. 
 A few parents have come up to tell us what a great coach he is and how great he is with the kids - and that's all that matters.
After soccer, I went to a few different stores to see if I could find a shirt for a photoshoot and hubby took the kids to starbucks. They sent me this while I was in the store!
I finally found success at Saks and miraculously was able to get clothes for ALL of us for our Christmas family photoshoot! We even survived an entire hour in the store with all the kids so that we could find everything we needed. We decided on a neutral theme of creams and browns and I hope it'll all come together. We got everything we needed, minus a sweater for the hubs - but we were able to find him something at a different store! I found adorable brown fur boots for Isabella this morning. I'm going to wear brown boots, so we'll match! Here's part of the kids' outfits:
We are awesome shoppers!
It was raining on Sunday and I found the best invention EVER at Costco - a crockpot that has a built-in timer! How did I not know about these? As a working Mama (who leaves the house at 7am and often doesn't come home until 6pm), crockpots are hard for me because I can't put things in there for 11 hours! This invention is amazing because you can set a timer and when the timer is done, it automatically switches to the "warm" setting. GENIUS!
 I made Paula Deen's Taco Soup!
Hubby eats his with cheese and sour cream! I also made warm honey corn muffins to go with the soup! Yummy!
After all our business, we decided to take the kids out for lunch!
 Daddy was waiting in line, so we didn't get a photo of him!
 We did about 6 loads of laundry over the weekend and I still have two more loads to do! It's insane how many outfits these tiny people go through.
 My husband has been traveling a lot. A lot a lot. With this new-ish job (he moved jobs in June), he definitely will travel more than his last one, but this has been insane. He basically has had every one of his corporate (once in a career) trainings in the last month. Thankfully, he won't ever have to do these again, but they literally were all piled together at once. So, when we have an evening together on the couch, it's something to be celebrated! This past weekend we watched Jurassic World.
With all that traveling for work, we've barely had time to work on our stairs! I joked with my mom that they might be done in July. No, but really, they HAVE to be done by the time I host my work's Christmas party. Two steps down, only 14 more to go. Thankfully the first three stairs are the hardest and the rest should be much simpler, because they are straight. See how the bottom three stairs fan out? That's made them much trickier!
On Monday I got a call that Aiden had a fever and needed to be picked up from pre-school early; I knew this meant that he wouldn't be able to go to school on Tuesday, either - and since hubby was out of town again, I knew this meant I would need to take the day off. I had 462 things to get done the next day and knew I "couldn't" take the day off, but such is life with little people who never get sick when it's convenient. Haha! So, I went ahead and put in for a sub and arranged to go into work early to write lesson plans. My day started at 5am with two congested kids in my bed.
When I got to work and looked up who my sub was, I realized the job hadn't been filled and I didn't have one. I absolutely hate when that happens, because I always feel so bad for the teachers who have to step up to take my kids - but I had no choice.
Four-year-old footed jammie snuggles on my lap, Disney movies on repeat, and fireplace warming were just the things I needed as a Mommy that day. I may not have chosen to take the day off, but if I was going to be home with a sick baby anyway, I sure was going to take advantage of the time to snuggle with just one child!
I also took advantage of the "forced" day off by reading a book that's been on my list for a couple weeks. I finished it in one day, during naptime, and in between cuddles! Holy Moly it was good!
Today I took the kids to the doctor's office for their well visit checks! They went well! The twins are still underweight, but I am not worried about this - as they've pretty much always been on the low end of the percentile since they were born! Other than that and Aiden's congestion, they looked healthy. They are going to have us go see a Urologist for the twins' kidneys, since it's been a few years since their kidneys (and Isabella's ureter) have been looked at! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

On a Halloween Night

On the morning of Halloween, the kids, hubby, and I all got ready for Connor's soccer game. The kids were especially excited because their Uncle Colin and Aunt Becca were coming to the game. Of course, somehow I didn't actually get a photo of them there. Booo.

After the soccer game, we had time to come home and get changed for a party! Aiden and Isabella were the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood and Connor was "Dark Vader." I tried explaining to him he was actually called "Darth Vader," but he just got confused. I think his friends must be talking about Star Wars, because we certainly have never watched in in our home. (Mama confession, I tried to convince him to be something far less scary and eventually gave up. Darth Vader it was!).
Every year we are invited to our friends' Halloween party, but we usually can't make it because we go to my mom's house for trick-or-treating and there isn't time to do both. But this year, since it was on a Saturday, we were able to fit both in! The kids had so much fun and, aside from the fact that Aiden painted all over his Big Bad Wolf Costume (it was washable paint and I was able to get it out easily in the wash), the kids were super easy and we could hang out with our friends while they just played! That's the BEST kind of party - one where the kids and adults have fun! 
The adults all dressed up too; but to be honest, I'm always so focused on getting the kids' costumes ready, I rarely even think about my own costume. Or, maybe, one could say I cleverly dressed as a Mommy - sweater, workout shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes! Haha! My mom, sister, her boyfriend, my brother, and sister-in-law all dressed up and had fun!
After the party, we headed back over to my parents' house for a tri tip dinner and some trick-or-treating. Hubby and I had fun snapping photos of the kids and watching them have fun! Man-oh-man do they love trick-or-treating!
I think every year they love it more and more. I will be devastated when the day comes that they don't want us tagging along with them.
Here are all the Kirkpatrick Kids below. Whenever I say, "Okay now let's get a picture of the Kirkpatrick kids together," my three littles always ask me what that means. They hear me use my maiden name at my parents' gate (because it's just easier for the gate guards to remember me and who I'm going to see), but aside from that they don't really understand it. It's actually pretty funny trying to explain to them how family names work. Can everyone just take a second to look below at my sister, her boyfriend, and then at Aiden?!? I died when I zoomed in. He was pretty freaked out by the zombies.
All the Kirkpatricks were together on Halloween and I just loved it! I miss my brother and his wife so much, when they go home. After our big group photo, we got a photo with Nana!
 And a photo of my little Howard Bunch!
I'm thankful for easy laid back Halloweens with family!

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