Sunday, March 30, 2014

Back to Life.

Well, we made it thru spring break relatively unscathed, so I figure we're winning in our household. I will be honest though, and tell you that by Thursday afternoon, I wasn't quite sure I would make it another day. I came away from Thursday with two realizations: (1) my boys, as well as myself, thrive on routine and an orderly schedule. Throw one or both of these things out of the window, and chaos is inevitable (as is whining, by all parties, not just of the child kind), and (2) I am so very thankful for Mothers Day Out. True story: I once judged moms who put their children in any type of child care other than bible study or church. I am here to tell those unknowing people to whom I cast judgement: I am sorry. I feel you. I get you. MDO makes you a better parent. I know now and I am here to tell you I am in your camp. Peace be with us all.

This weekend we didn't have any super big plans other than some major to-do's on our checklist. One of those things has been a long time coming: finalizing our will. I will go ahead and tell you that doing our will probably caused me more stress than I realized. It just seems so morbid and daunting thinking about who will take care of your kids, who will take care of your estate and what to do with your organs, body, and the like, once you die. It was not a fun process, and I am glad to have it behind us.

Tyler got to brush his teeth for the first time this weekend. I was expecting a fight, but he did so well, and really seemed to enjoy it. Hopeful that this will continue and it wasn't just a one time thing.

This was also the last weekend in a long while where we don't have plans, so I took the opportunity of a clear schedule and pretty weather to take some 5 year pictures of Brayden. I let him pick out his outfit, and I have to say that he did a pretty fabulous job. And up until the final few minutes, was cooperative and had great suggestions on how he wanted to pose. At the end he started getting a little stabby, but that was easily remedied with a promise of an ice cream cone at our local ice cream parlor.
he picked out green ice cream. His favorite color is green, so anything, he can get green, green it is. I loved getting a few minutes of one on one time with him. He makes me laugh so much. In many ways, I can't believe that he's already five, and I feel as though time is slipping through my fingers like sand.
I probably won't post the other pics I took till Brayden turns 5, but I couldn't resist this jewel. He INSISTED on posing like this. I tried to get him to change, but after several failed attempts to do something different I just went with it. There are bigger battles to be fought. Although, I have a feeling he may kill me for this picture later on in life. haha!
caught someone eating dirt outside. Thankfully he spit it out. I really don't want to deal with another case of childhood PICA. ha!

On Saturday evening Drew and I watched Saving Mr. Banks. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know that I am a HUGE Mary Poppins fan. It was one of my favorite movies growing up, and my boys have grown rather fond of it too (especially Tyler, who will sit and watch nearly the whole movie... an impressive feat for a 10 month old). If you haven't seen Saving Mr. Banks, you MUST. Such a great movie, and so intriguing knowing the story behind the story of Mary Poppins. Drew, who, at first, was rather disappointed in the movie selection since he thought we were getting 12 Years a Slave, told me that this was one of the best movies he has watched in a long time. I concur.

We've had a pretty low-key Sunday, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are looking forward to a week with our regular schedule back in tact. Happy Sunday evening to all of you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Springbreak Randoms.

We're almost thru Spring Break 2014, and all I can say is, thank goodness that Summer is not bleak and bleary. We've had hardly any good weather this week, which means we're stuck indoors most days, which means that I have 3 boys going crazy from cabin fever. I'd like to think that I'm going crazy from cabin fever too, but considering I do like to be home a lot, it really hasn't been all that bad... aside from the three crazy children. This has also solidified my theory that I would make a terrible homeschool mom. Honestly, I'm not even sure how my mom survived motherhood with her sanity in tact; she homeschooled all 4 of her kids, and didn't even have Netflix to distract us.

Speaking of Netflix, I've been on a big documentary kick lately. My current obsession is the WWII documentaries based on eye witnesses to certain events. Last night Drew and I watched one called No Place on Earth. It's about a Jewish family who lived in a cave for almost 18 months in Ukraine. It was amazing. Definitely check it out if you have Netflix.

I've been busy the past several weeks in updating a few things around our house. We've lived here for over 2 years and I still don't have much on the walls (I have ideas and great plans, but I'm never good at following through with said plans). I've still not decided on a gallery wall arrangement, just in case you were wondering about that. I did finally get curtains hung in our master bedroom. It's amazing what four pieces of fabric and a metal rod will do for a room. I took pictures of my progress the other day, but need some moments to get the pictures off of my camera. If you're wondering why it takes so long to do such a thing, please see paragraph one: crazy children stuck inside during spring break.

Last, but certainly not least, I've been on the search for a good pair of slim jeans for Brayden. He has, sadly, outgrown his 5T jeans, meaning we are making the jump to the big boys section for pants now (he's been in big boy sized shirts since the fall). We tried on regular 6 pants, and there's just no way they will work. In Brayden's words "these things have something wrong... they just slide right now." Since pants that slide off aren't really an option, I've been looking at different brands than we usually get. I think we are going to try our hand at the Crazy 8 brand and see if these work. We'll see. I feel slightly bad knowing that I have handed him down the long torso, long legs, skinny waist, problem. Not that it's a problem per se, but it definitely makes clothes buying a bit more interesting.

I don't have much else to say at the moment, so I'm going to grab a quick nap before my little people awake from naps. I'll leave you with a few of my favorite recent phone pictures.
Brayden has been a bottomless pit lately (thus the need for new jeans). One day, after he had eaten all of his sandwich, his fruit, his side of pretzels and a glass of water, he asked for a pickle sandwich. You only live once, right?
the boys frequently have bad guy raids in my house. I have nothing to fear having two super heroes here to protect me ;)
I took Connor out last week on a little date. As we were getting ready to get out of the car, C said "this is how you make a bad bad bad face."
Tyler's accessories for his Easter outfit came in. I about died from the cuteness. He will coordinate with his big brothers, who will be wearing jeans with pink polo shirts.

OK. I'm off for naptime... that is, if I can fall asleep with this awful wind howling in the background. Adieu adieu.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gallery Wall Ideas {a call for help}

There are things in life that I thrive in and I am really good at doing. I am here to let you know that interior decorating is not one of them. I go into Pottery Barn or look through boards on Pinterest and think, "I can totally do that." I get home, and it's like Elsa's magical powers take me over and I am FROZEN. I'm like a walking "Pinterest FAIL" board. To prove my point, I give you my latest exhibit that has caused me more heartburn than I'd like to admit.

Exhibit A: (For a brain refresher, click HERE to see what my entryway looks like. It's sad to me that it's sat like this for almost 2 years. I'm working on it) What I'm trying to do is make a gallery wall of picture frames on the right side when you walk into the entryway from the front door. I'm trying to put a gallery wall on the right side of the entryway closet. This is the space I have to work with.... It's basically 44" tall by 57" wide. 
My basic idea is to make the entire wall, even around the top of the door, a gallery wall. I want the lines on both sides of the door to match, so I am limited to the height that I work with on either side. Because the area above the door is so slim, I'm thinking that I'll probably put two rows of square picture frames up there.

Below are all the different arrangements I've come up with so far for the right side of the wall (the reasons that I like/don't like them are below each image.).
gallerywall (1)
option 1: this was the first arrangement I created. I like it, but the problem with it is that it's not that tall, so it may not line up evenly with the frames I plan on placing on the other side of the door (same wall), so this one got nixed fairly quickly. But maybe I shouldn't worry about the other side of the door and just treat those areas as two separate areas instead of one big wall?
gallerywall (6)
option 2: I actually have two versions of this layout. This one, and then one where I put the middle 8x10 frame laying vertically instead of horizontally. My concern with this layout is that there may be too many big pictures for me to fill (the 11x14 frame is matted to 8x10).
gallerywall (5)
option 3: The commentary I get on this arrangement is that there isn't enough of the bigger size picture. I personally like this arrangement.
gallerywall (4)
option 4: this is probably in my top two of the arrangements I've come up with. I like how it has a focal point 8x10 (thinking I could put a bible verse typography type of artwork in that frame), and isn't overloaded with the 11x14 frame.
gallerywall (3)
option 5: not sure what to think of this arrangement. My friend said it looks like the 5x7s kind of got put onto it as an afterthought. I think she's onto something.
gallerywall (2)
option 6: this one is in my top 3, which even surprises me. It's not as symmetrical as the others, which some people like. Personally, I'm a bit of a symmetry freak, so I have to get over the fact that it's a little odd on the symmetry side.

SO... someone with interior decorating skill tell me... which one should I pick, and why? Or does it really matter? I've asked a lot of my closest friends, and I get all sorts of responses, leaving me to wonder if gallery walls are more of an art of opinion than fact. Guess the answers I get in the comments of this post will tell me :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mud Holes & Woodworking {Weekend in Review}.

This weekend threw us for a bit of a surprise, as we were bracing for rain and never received but a 15 minute gentle drizzle. It cooled things off, which meant the littles and I stayed home during Brayden's soccer practice on Saturday, but other than that we were all able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, which was welcomed by all family members in our household.
this isn't the greatest picture, but I found it so hiliarious and a perfect picture in terms of capturing my kids in their stages right now. Brayden, sweet and willing to take pictures almost always. Tyler, too busy to really care about smiling, much less sitting still. And Connor, still in the throws of the terrible threes. On this particular morning, Brayden wanted them all to match in their jerseys... he is such a sweet big brother.
We were sitting on the patio on Friday afternoon and when Drew asked the boys about this hole, they informed us that it was their mud pie hole. Brayden happily said "You know how you make mud??? You just dig that up, and then you pee in it, and it turns into mud." Drew and I looked at each other and didn't know whether to laugh or cry, as they had been playing with their "mud" hole for several days. Lord have mercy, these boys....
Drew's been busy working on stump benches for our little fire pit in the backyard. Tyler is hard to handle outside because he wants to crawl around in the mud, so I set him up in the Little Tikes car to watch Drew. It kept Ty entertained for quite a while.
Ty's hair is getting so scraggly, but I refuse to cut it. I just can't.
the new Sheriff in town, putting the brothers to good use. ;)
I keep telling Brayden hat his hair buzzed makes him look so OLD. He's started rolling his eyes at me and saying "STOPPPP ITTT MOOOOOMMMMM. I'm not OLD!" Ughhh, if only he was right. How has 5 years flown by so quickly???

The rest of the weekend was kind of a blur, that included things done around the house, church and even a little sickness (Connor hasn't been feeling the greatest, but we're not sure what's causing it.). Hoping he gets better quickly, as we have lots of fun things planned for our spring break this week (although, our spring break doesn't include traveling, much to Brayden's disappointment). Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tyler Paul {10 Months}.

Confession: I just realized it was the 19th. It's 8:20pm. If that doesn't go to show you how aloof I am, then you're probably in the same boat.

I think part of my problem is that I am trying to ignore the fact that my baby is very quickly becoming not a baby. I have been partly sad about it, and partly happy because his little personality is shining through more and more and it's just the cutest!

::10 Month Highlights::
  • weighs about 22/23 pounds. 
  • wears size 4 diapers during the day, size 5 at night. 
  • wears 12-18 month and 18 month clothing. he's starting to wear shoes, and wears size 3.
  • His hair is getting long, but I have no intention of cutting it anytime soon. I just can't bring myself to do it, because: HE'S MY BABY.... (insert crying face). 
  • He is crawling for real now-- no Army crawls anymore. He pulls up to a kneeling position, but is really hesitant to pull up to his feet. 
  • He LOVES to climb. 
  • He LOVES to go outside. If his brothers are outside (and sometimes, even when they're not!), he will sit at our backdoor (it's a door with a large window in it) and cry and bang on the glass. 
  • He's starting to really show opinion about food. If he doesn't like something on his tray, he will literally spit it out across the kitchen. Working on that.
  • He's also started a new little "trick" where he rubs his face and hair with his dirty hands when he's all done with dinner. He is my first child who has done this consistently, and I can tell you that I am not a fan. 
  • His favorite food is any kind of FRUIT. If he sees food of any kind he starts smacking loudly.
  • He loves to talk. His favorite word is "dada" (of course!), but he loves to just sit and speak gibberish too. 
  • He has started clapping for his brothers. SO sweet!
  • He LOVES to wrestle with the big boys. Makes me super nervous, but he starts it with them, so as long as I'm watching, I let them pretend to wrestle a little bit before calling it off.
Tyler Paul--
I can't believe that you've been a part of our family for 10 months. I can't imagine life without your contagious smile and laughter. You are the perfect piece to our puzzle that we never knew was missing. We love you little dude!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

First Self-Haircut.

A couple of weeks ago at community group, one of my friends was lamenting over her daughter's new self-haircut. Ironically enough, to this point, we had not had the self-haircutting experience, which had left me to believe that perhaps this preschool right of passage was only something that girls decided to do. So, being the awesome mom and friend that I am, I chimed into the conversation that no scissor wielding experience had ever happened in our home with our boys, as odd as this may have seemed to everyone else (seeing how my boys tend to prefer to walk on the wild side and embrace danger as if it was their best friend).

I'm fairly certain that when the words "that has never happened with my boys" stumbled out of my mouth, that God Himself made a mental note of my proclamation, while simultaneously chuckling loudly.

Because fast forward two weeks, and this is where we stand.
I had just gotten home from our weekend away. Brayden came to me with "the look" on his face. Brayden is very much my child in that the kid cannot tell a lie for the life of him. This is a good thing, especially for me as a parent, as I'm generally able to tell right off the bat if we are about to enter into a situation of "can mommy figure out what's wrong". So I see the face, and then I see the hair. And instead of saying anything, I let him do the talking, which went something like "well, Mamaw was with Tyler and we went in your bathroom, and Connor broke daddy's razor, but I used daddy's razor and, well... my hair."

I had always wondered how I would respond in situations like this, and here's what I will tell you. In about 3 seconds, you go from vanity, anger and pity. I was leaning more on the anger/pity side of things during those first 5 seconds of reaction. I'm not a person who puts a whole lot into looks, and since we all know hair will grow back, this was the least of my worries. Anger because, well, this is obvious. And pity because there was no discipline needed. His face said everything I needed to know.

He was deeply heart broken that his decision had caused something that was irreversible (at least for a few weeks anyway). He cried for nearly an hour, and after talking with him for quite a while, I realized that he thought that his hair was permanently damaged. Bless his sweet little heart. When we finally looked on Google for a few buzz cuts and he realized that things would eventually go back to normal, I was able to get him to calm down. He even humored me with a half hearted smile (which I had to really coax him into doing; just because he's OK with the fact that things will grow back does not remove the self consciousness I can tell he has about everything). We were able to get into a hair salon fairly quickly, and remedy the situation as best we could: with a level 1 buzz.
(he really doesn't look half bad with a short buzz cut, although I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that we're both ready for it to be long enough to spike it again ;) ).

Overall, I think this has been a good lesson for both of us. For B, it was the lesson that when Drew and I put boundaries in place, they are for his good and to protect him. There's also the lesson of natural consequences. In this instance, we didn't have to discipline; the result of getting into the razor alone was punishment enough. For me, I learned something I never really had thought about before: it is so hard watching your child go through something that they brought upon themselves as a result of disobeying your rules. There was nothing I could do to make the natural consequence go away. I could try to make it a little better, but even then, it meant losing the rest of his hair too. My mommy heart ached so badly for a way to just take it all away from him, but I couldn't. I could only console him. I'm sure this isn't the last time that our boundaries will be tested; the real question is if the consequences will be just as easy of a fix as a buzz cut ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend Getaway.

This has been a bit of a laid back whirlwind of a weekend, all in one, but oh so fun.
Friday Drew's mom drove up to watch the boys, and we set off with several couples from our community group for a weekend getaway at a lake house. It was the perfect combination of friends, food and fun together with Drew, without crying babies and early morning wake ups. It was so refreshing for all of us, and so fun to be able to hang out with some of our best friends more than just the hour or two that we get each week during community group. (we did have a minor mishap of the breaker going out on us for the first 3 hours of the trip, which meant that we had to prepare dinner by oil lamp, which was quite comical and memory making for sure).
(not the best picture of either of us, but I promise you that you don't want to see the selfie we tried to take Friday night at the bonfire. 15 layers of chins and no amount of photoshop to cover up those bad boys ;) ).

Saturday we returned back home to a forecast of snow, so I had to join the crazies at Walmart to make sure I was stocked up on essentials... just in case. We also had to make a quick pit stop to the hair salon, as a certain someone decided that they would attempt to cut their hair with Daddy's electric shaver while their Mamaw was changing brothers diaper. Fun times. (And more on this to come later. I feel like it deserves it's own post ;).

Today was my first day volunteering in the church nursery after a 2 year sabbatical. Here's my confession: I love small babies. By far my most favorite stage with all of my children was the newborn thru 6 month stage (minus the reflux, which very well could have been crafted by the hand of Satan. Not that I have strong feelings against it or anything). Most of my friends think I'm crazy, but I just love the stage where the babies can't talk back, are fairly immobile and the fixes to most problems with them generally involves either just changing a diaper or feeding them. Anyways, now that I am 4 months removed from the 0-6 month stage, I find myself yearning for the little babies again. And seeing how my husband looks at me with crazy eyes if I even mention the word "baby" in our own home, working in the church nursery seems like the most logical solution to appease my arms of their baby holding needs. Today I got to cuddle with a sweet little guy wearing cropped levis and a polo sweater; aside from my own 3 little dudes, this little guy was the sweetest thing ever and I felt like I was in my heaven (and I was able to return said cute little dude to his parents after an hour. Not having the weight of thinking about another college fund does have its advantages.).

After I got out of the nursery, we made the executive decision to miss out on the service, as it was SNOWING. AGAIN. All I can say is SWEET MERCY I AM SO READY FOR SPRING. Drew and I also noted how particularly funny it was that the Robins were out in full force during a thick pouring snowstorm. Bless their sweet, red-breasted hearts, they are just as confused as the rest of us.
Tyler thinks sunglasses are a necessity, even on snow days ;)

Thankfully none of the snow really stuck to the roads much, which means school is not canceled tomorrow, which means I get to check things off of my to-do list before spring break.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring Soccer.

Now that the snow has finally melted, Brayden was able to have one of his first spring soccer practices this week. He was SO excited about it, especially about the fact that we had Rice Krispy Treats as after practice snacks ;)
Drew's still the coach this season, and they keep the teams together from the fall, which means that we know all of our teammates, which is really nice. (sidenote: Brayden got a haircut on Tuesday, and I can't even handle how old it makes him look. Even his preschool teacher made a pouty face and said "you sure are handsome but you look so OLD!" Boo for babies growing up.)
Connor has been absolutely devastated that he's still too young to play in the league. Even in the fall he'll only be old enough to play the equivalent of first touch soccer, which is basically fundamentals of the game. On the way to practice tonight I asked Connor what my expectations were of him (to see if he can remember-- this is a common drill we do to try and avoid the meltdowns that are inevitable with preschoolers). He was quiet for a moment then said "you expect me to play nice, to run fast and to score a point and win." (a) these were not the expectations I had previously laid out for him to follow (b) no idea where he got these ideas from, as we always tell Brayden that the most important point of him playing is to have fun and be a good teammate and opponent, but apparently Connor has "go big or go home" as his mantra. At least we don't have to work on his competitive nature or drive for excellence. Also, thank goodness for being able to stream Netflix on my cell phone. These are the moments I wonder how our parents ever survived extra curricular activities with multiple children.

And Tyler? Well, he loved practice, and crawled from blanket to blanket, bartering for food in exchange for snuggles from the other mommas. I realize that him crawling on the ground and chewing on dead sticks is less than ideal, but once the third baby comes around, I've just had to realize that if he is breathing, that we're all going to be OK.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kisses from Summer.

20140311_080559(Forgive me for the wonking formatting; I started pressing the "enter" button in HTML and everything got messed up and I'm too busy to have time to go in and tweak the html code of this post. ha!). 

The first two days of this week were what I have affectionately labeled "summer kisses." The highs were in the upper 70s, with a cool breeze blowing in from the west (clearly I'm old and now watch the weather religiously... who else knows the direction the wind blows? OLD PEOPLE.). Just the sunlight streaming into our house boosted everyone's spirits. Then add the trips to the park to feed the fish and take a small walk, and we were all smiling.

Connor has been exceptionally hilarious lately. Monday at the pond he told me that we needed to "wook out for the wattle snakes, because dey are weally weally strong at biting." I'm beginning to see glimpses past the darkness that is the terrible threes, and little funny things he says like this make me forget the hard moments that much more easily.
The downside of the nice weather is that we're back in the "everyone needs baths at the end of the day" routine. My boys have a propensity to wear all particles of dirt they come in close proximity with during the day. And no matter how I much I sweep, my floors are still sprinkled with dust and dead grass. But the fact that it's almost spring, I can't really complain (I mean, the alternative is snow, and since we've endured our fair share of fluffy white stuff enough this winter, I'll take dead grass in the house).

But... This, this I will complain about. I really do love my boys (to death). And all three of them are exceptionally smart. But between having to clean their bathroom multiple times a day (this is not an exaggeration. If you do not have boys, ask any boy mom and they will tell you that cleaning the bathroom multiple times a day is a requirement of the boy mom job. If they say no, they are either lying, or have figured out a magical secret to teach aiming that I am not privvy too), and walking out onto the patio to find this:
this is NOT water. For the love. If you're going to pee outside, at least pee on the fence.
Bless his heart, this poor baby of mine wants to be one of the big boys so bad. If he and I can't be outside with the bigs, he sits at the door and just cries and bangs on the window. I feel so terrible for him.

The other thing we've enjoyed this week are longer days. This is probably the very top reason I love spring/summer... daylight savings time. We have spent evenings outside with Daddy playing basketball, going on family walks, and just sitting in the back of the truck.

Of course, as Arkansas would have it, today we're enduring blustery 40 degree winds. But we are waiting for summer with open arms. Come on summer, we're ready!!!

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