Friday, February 19, 2016

Big Boys

February 6th was a big day. We moved Micah into Greyson's room officially at a little over 3 months and we moved Greyson to the big boy bed AND took away the pacifier. Like I was a BIG day. Micah had been napping in the crib during the day and had had a few nights in the room with Grey but mostly was still in the pack n play in the guest room. Greyson had been going without his pacifier with the exception of naps for a little while but I just felt like we should "rip the band aid off" all at once, you know? I'm not going to was a tad anxiety inducing but I told Tim we'd likely have a bit of a "hell week" and then everyone would adjust. It was time to buckle down! 
The pacifier and the big boy bed were a total non-issue. Micah being in the room with Grey was a bit touch and go for a while. They definitely woke each other up on and off but I was determined to make the room sharing a success so we tried our hardest not to go in for anything (except I still night nursed as needed). 
Now, this far removed from it I can tell you it's been a total success. I'm so glad we put them in there together. They chatter to each other as they are falling asleep and they sleep through each others random wakings for the most part. 
^He really was starting to get a  bird was definitely time to take the paci. 
He looked so tiny in that big ole bed. 
Also in February, Micah turned 4 months old. I didn't get as many great pictures as I'd hoped but I did get some cute close ups and funny expressions. 

Love those big baby blues. Even with a puckered lip. 

Now that we've had a glance back...let's have a relatively current peek at the going's on. 

First of all, before we do that though - I've got to share something that I'm so super excited about. My birthday is tomorrow and I told Tim that what I really wanted most for any special occasion in the near future was for my blog to be printed. I want to hold what I've created for so many years now. Life has been so busy that my scrap booking has totally ceased. Creating photo books, though so much fun is so time consuming that I've also failed to do that. I never even finished Avery's baby books. Aside from the random group printing for home frame updating, I have no physical form of all the pictures I take and all the memories I try to record. After much research (he is an engineer after all) we decided to go with a company called blogtoprint. Printing the books ended up running around $75/year but I think we had a coupon from somewhere that he found. Because that's an investment, we only ordered my first two years but y'all - I'm so excited I can't even tell you. Like, BEST GIFT EVER excited. I can't wait to hold those books in my hand and sit down with a big cup of coffee and just stroll down memory lane and thank God for all the ways He's blessed us. Ahhhh...So: I'd love to hear from y'all. Anyone else out there printed their blog and what site did you use? Did you like it, not like it? Spill! I'll give my my opinion of it all once I get it in the mail. The uploading part was a piece of cake though. There aren't tons of custom options, but I'm okay with that...

Okay, so we left off in November around Thanksgiving. Picking back up...while we were all home for a few days we decided to go ahead and deck the halls. I have these ambitious dreams of us driving up to the NC mountains and picking our perfect tree and chopping it down together before loading it up on the van and driving it back home with our cups of hot chocolate and a gentle snow in the air. Ha! Sounds amazing, right? Well, I'm a bit of a realist and I fully know that going to the NC mountains with these four yahoos would be anything like the desired experience I just described above. So: we bought a tree at Walmart and called it a day. One day though - we are going to go have our perfect Christmas tree experience. Mark my words! 
 The tree we got was a good one, the process of decorating it...not so good. It was next level crazy. I'm just keepin' it real. There were ornament boxes tossed everywhere, the plastic and paper that neatly encircled each ornament was thrown about haphazardly, kids were trying to climb the ladder, ornaments were being dropped and when they weren't they were all being hung in clumps rather than spread about uniformly throughout the tree, kids were stepping on the light was complete and utter craziness. I honestly felt like I needed a drink and it was all going down before 10 AM. True story. 
 They looks sweet and precious and angelic in these pictures but they were tree decorating terrors. Seriously!
 We had Christmas music playing and Christmas Spirit essential oil diffusing but Momma wasn't feeling it. 
 At one point I was yelling and sweating and thinking "well, this isn't at all what I had in mind". I had to time-out the decorating for a clean up break and then we had to have an ornament hanging talk with the children and then we resumed. 
 It's embarrassing to admit that I'm so type A but if I'm honest I also feel like you gotta know who you are and know your limits, else the "crazy Mom" comes out and I mean, that's just not good for anyone. It's like they say "If Momma ain't happy......"
 In the end, the tree got decorated, the mess got cleaned up and we were able to look at our creation and be happy and anticipate the coming holiday and all it would bring. I promise! I did breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the time with my people. Even my littlest of decorators. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Optimism & Turkey

I believe I've mentioned on the blog before that Kennedy goes to a charter school and more specifically she goes to a character charter school. Basically, they emphasize a core set of character values and it's taught in all that they do and encouraged in every way possible. Well, the kids and staff are able to be named at regularly occurring assemblies as exemplifying the character trait that they are currently learning about and working on. In Kindergarten, the teachers voted but from 1st grade up the students are voted on and chosen by their peers. In February, Kennedy was chosen from her 2nd grade class as showing Optimism. Optimism is defined as follows: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. 

We are proud of Kennedy all the time, but when you get a call from the school saying she's been chosen by her peers as exemplifying any of her school's character traits - it takes the proud factor up a notch, you know? 
 These assemblies are so fun because the school notifies you ahead of time, but the student has no idea. They read this little letter that has things the winners peers said about them,  supporting why they thought he/she should be chosen for that character trait and then they say their name and you bust out from behind a curtain. It's just really cool.  
 It's a huge amount of fan fair for my wee introvert to take in but she did pretty good. Look how sweet her class was when they all returned to the room - she got bum rushed for a congratulatory hug. The best!
 Oh her first grade teachers. We miss them so. They were the perfect blend of structure and tenderness. I could tell they were just as pleased for my girl as I was. Love that. 
 Nana and Pawpaw were able to be there for the big surprise which was so nice. Now that they've moved here, they'll be there for any more of these in the future! 
 Here is what her teacher read aloud before calling her name. 
It reads:
"She always has a smile on her face."
"She has a good attitude in school."
"She believes in her friends". 

Let me just tell you that when you're the parent and you're hiding behind that black curtain and the whole place is silent and you're hearing those words spoken about your precious's just too much. Both last year and this year I felt like I deserved a medallion for not ugly crying when I came through the curtain to congratulate her. I mean, honestly. It's just precious. 

Thanksgiving 2015 was an interesting one. My sisters and I strategically alternate holidays with our in-laws and our immediate family so that when one of us is at our in-laws, we are all at our in-laws...meaning that when it's "our family's turn" we are all together. So far that schedule has worked really well for us and thus it continues. 

Well, now that the Taylor's are living in NC full time they will likely join my family for some portion of the holiday events. We'll be figuring that out over the next few holidays. It was not to be figured out for this particular holiday though because it was their "turn" to have us for Thanksgiving but they had a wedding to attend in WV the weekend prior and since they were half way to my Mother In-laws parents in IN they went ahead and made the full trip after ensuring that our feelings wouldn't be hurt if they did so. 

So: since my Mom was to be flying solo since my sisters and I were all to be with our in-laws, she and I coordinated a Thanksgiving meal to be had at our house and we were planning to go and get Grandma from the nursing home to join us as well. Well, my Mom's husband Jim got sick a few days before so we were down one major eating contributor :). He (very considerately) bowed out of the Turkey Day Dinner as to not infect Grandma (thinking she likely couldn't handle a sickness). Well, come Thanksgiving morning Tim was on his way to pick Grandma when she calls him and tells him not to come because she's sick. Moral of the story: we had TONS of food, very few adults eating and several picky children. Awesome! Oh well. Leftover city - here we came. The ironic thing is, I made a very specific menu with Grandma in mind because she can only eat certain types of foods. We had lots of leftovers that Grandma would love. No worries though - we managed to eat them all. 

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, the kids and I made our annual tradition turkey cookies. These are so easy and the kids have so much fun making them. 

 I just stuck this picture in here to keep it real. Allowing kids to help = a hot mess kitchen and it's all good. 

 Good of Ave, not of Grey.
 Not good of Ave, good of Grey. 
What are you gonna do? 
Put both pics in the post and call it a day!
 And now for Turkey Day pics. I really didn't get tons of pics of the food/table, but I did manage to get a few pictures and that's impressive in and of itself really. 
 I kept it simple this year. I provided macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, sweet tea, cranberry relish and pecan pie. All three of my sides I prepped in crock pots so it was easy peasy. 

 I flipped Micah's birthday pumpkins backwards and re-purposed them for holding pictures of Thanksgivings past. So fun!

 It was really neat looking at how much had changed over the years. I would love to re-create this somehow every year. It was neat. 
 Pumpkin 2009 was ready to be done with it's position on the mantle. Ew. 
 This beautiful thing was the most challenging piece of my Thanksgiving contribution. Who knew pie crusts and pecan pies could be so difficult. The pie was delicious in the end but it did evoke a certain about of frenzy and stress in the preparatory process. 
 The decision to make pecan pie - it was totally because Grandma said it was her favorite. Ha! We took her several slices and she personally called me a few days later to tell me how delicious it was. Score! 
Another Thanksgiving in the books!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

3 months and I-phone fun

I've not done as good taking monthly pictures of Micah as I did with my others but I have made sure to do it (which I'm proud of because, well - he's #4)...I just haven't had as much time to get creative and take 100+ pictures like I have of the other kids. Thankfully he's a super precious and super content (thank you Jesus) subject so it's worked out ok in the end. Without further ado, here are his 3 month shots. 

I would love to know how you fellow phone picture takers keep up with and organize your photos. I'm not doing a good job of categorizing these pictures in an organized fashion like the ones I download off of my camera. So: when I go to blog I've got all my camera photos organized and chronological but then I've got all these random phone dump folders and it's just a mess. If you've got any tips I'm all ears people! In the meantime I suppose I'll keep sharing them in a dump-like manner but I don't love it. While we are on the subject of phone pictures. I don't know how people use phones as their main means of phone pictures are great if the lighting is great but if the lighting is at all....the pictures just suck to be honest. So: I don't even use it unless the lighting is good. If we're outside I feel like it does great and so I get some really fun pictures like some of these: 

This was soon after he learned how to clap. He was so proud and would do it all the time. 

This is a buddy of mine from church. This is another example of the iphone camera working well. Again though - good lighting makes all the difference. 
This picture cracks me up. This was taken at our church on Superhero day. I'm not sure what Avery was upset about but it's a funny picture nonetheless. 

Now that he is walking - he's everywhere they are...especially his BFF Kennedy. They were picking leaves for a "special stew" and so he was picking leaves too. 

And now for a prime example of how the indoor photos just don't come out quite as well. I'd love to hear what you guys edit with. The iphone editing options are good but I just recently downloaded an editing app called Aviary (which my 13 year old niece recommended) and I really like it but am still learning what all it can do. 

This girl. She's always loved her sleep but she lives life so hard that she seldom slows down. Every now and then when she does and no one is around, this will happen and I love it. I have a picture of me napping on a couch at about her age and it's uncanny how much she and I look alike. I'll have to go digging for that picture. 
Kennedy worked out with us one Saturday at Carolina Sweat when they had a Family Day and the next day she said "Momma, when I do this it hurts". Well, yes...working out: it will do that to you. 

This picture was taken at our church on Superhero Day too. I work the second service in the infant room every Sunday and this little peanut was wearing the funniest super hero pants. They said things like "boom" and "pow" and they were so super cute! Clearly the adults got in on the dress up action as well. 

I will say the video situation on the iphone is ideal. We were not doing well getting video of our kids before getting our phones but now we are able to catch super cute video clips easily and quickly. This video is one of my favorites from this past year. Micah is a mega picky eater. Honestly the child wants things out of a package and if they aren't in a package, he doesn't want it. The only exception to this is when I make him a smoothie - the kid loves a smoothie. In this video, Tim was trying to feed him carrots which he was having none of and then he switched over to offering him a veggie straw and well, you'll see the difference in his reaction. It's pretty funny!

He pretty much lives on smoothies, cereal bars, veggie/fruit pouches, and dehydrated fruit. I mean, it could be worse but it could be a whole lot better too. Thankfully the organic options for what he does eat can be readily found on Amazon and that's pretty much how I get all his food these days because it's cheaper than purchasing at the grocery store.