Thursday, October 20, 2016

end of summer and early fall {and a video dump}

I swear life is going at time warp speed. It's like I blinked and three months went by. Our calendar in the kitchen hasn't been updated since July so that gives you an idea of how scatterbrained and behind I am. My phone and computer have been at max capacity as far as space for pictures goes so I feel like I am missing a lot of things I might otherwise include in this monster of an update, but these will have to do for now. 

Look at those three cuties up there that I get to spend every single day with! I love looking at this picture because I feel like it gives me a chance to see my every day life from an outside perspective. I love these babies of mine and although they tire me to no end, it is the exact life I've always wanted and I will forever be grateful for these years when my kids are young and I was their world and they were mine. We have had a really good last few months together.

Minnie turned FIVE in August! We celebrated she and Nick's birthday together at my parent's house the Sunday following their birthdays. She loves sharing her birthday party every year with him.

On Min's actual birthday, which was a Saturday, we had a little combined birthday party for her and Louisa. All of the pictures I took from their birthday are on my external hard drive except for this one of these cuties and their cupcakes. We did a little water-themed birthday party and had our own little splash pad of sorts set up in the backyard. It ended up working out great and Minnie and Louie had a great day.

We spent the evening of Minnie's birthday at Lagoon and it was the perfect end to a really great day. This girl is just fun. She is dramatic, and wild and sometimes quite naughty, but it all generally boils down to the fact that she was trying to have fun. I love her so much and am so proud of the way she cares about and loves people.

My mom got the girls surprise tickets to a production of The Little Mermaid and as a gift for Louisa's birthday she gave them a countdown chain and a little present for each day until the performance. Here they are drinking chocolate milk with the straws they got one of the days. My mom is so creative.

I think this was literally the best day of their lives! They had no idea where we were going but we told them we were meeting my parents for their birthday surprise. When the play started I think Minnie's jaw dropped to the ground. She is a MAJOR Ariel fan and therefore Louisa is a MAJOR Ariel fan. They were glued! Minnie said it was the best birthday present she'd ever had. Bravo, Mom! She sat on my Mom's lap the entire time and every time I looked over at her she was beaming. Except at the kissing parts. She'd cover her eyes during the kissing parts. Ha! I love Minnie snuggling Lou in this picture. Min is my brave little one for the most part and I love how she's taking on the big sister role because Lou was nervous. So cute!

Hikes up Mueller Park Canyon with this baby boy strapped to me. He slept all the way up on this hike and was as happy as a clam on the way down. There are some tee pees made out of logs in a clearing about a mile up so my friend Sara and I dragged our five kids up there one Saturday when both our husbands were out of town, and although we had some rough points, all in all it was a great morning and the kids had a good time.

I've mentioned this before, but our next door neighbors have a big pool in their yard and offer swimming lessons every summer. Minnie did a few group sessions last summer but I didn't feel like she made much progress. She did one group session earlier this summer and I felt like we were spinning our wheels all over again. I asked them about private lessons and I was informed that they were only $10 more per session. You better believe I was all over that! Within about a day Minnie was already starting to swim on her own. That said, it had to be on her terms but once she finally realized that she could do it and overcame her fear of allowing her teacher to let go, we had a little fish on our hands. She was so proud of herself and I was so proud of her.

I think one reason we all love the summer so much is because we get to go to the cabin. I think we went up there three or four times this year which is a pretty good amount for us, but I feel like there is never enough time to get up there as often as we would like. Julia, Colin and Vicky all came with us the last time we went, and as usual, it was wonderful. Unfortunately on Sunday morning I woke up feeling SUPER sick and we ended up leaving earlier than we had intended. The car ride home was miserable and the rest of Sunday was pretty miserable too, but by Monday morning I was feeling much better so we headed to Lagoon and then grabbed Cafe Rio with my parents later that evening.

I just think this picture is hilarious. Minnie helping Robert clean his car one summer night.

These two are constantly all over William. Sometimes he loves it, sometimes it's too much. I love them.

A girls date with my mom, Julia and Megan. Always wishing Charlotte was here to come with us, but especially on outings like these.

First day of kindergarten for Minnie and first day of preschool for Lou. Minnie was so excited to go to school and it was fun to see her off on her first day. I was a baby and got a little teary eyed, but she loves it so all in all it was a really great day. Lou was a bit of a mama's girl this summer so I wasn't sure how she would do with preschool, but she hopped right out of the car on the first day without a care. I was so happy. Minnie had also been going to school for a few weeks by then so I think she was ready for it to be her turn. I still can't believe Lou is in preschool. She will have another year of it next year, but it is wild to me how quickly they up and out of the house. Minnie only has half day kindergarten, but next year she will be gone most of the day when she starts first grade. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes with these three at home, but realizing that soon they won't be with me most of the day makes me so sad.

My cousin Greg got married in September and this is the only picture I have to show for it. I did take a Snapchat video which I included below.

My cute friend, Laurel, who now lives in London, came into town for her parents surprise party for their 40th wedding anniversary. It was so fun to spend some time with her. The party was up at Snowbird and my girls had the time of their lives dancing with lots of new "friends" (most of whom were adults) to the live band. Robert and I are trying to figure out a way to get to London someday soon. Laurel's husband owns and amazing restaurant in Chelsea and I am dying to go there.

A fun jaunt around Silver lake with Julia one afternoon.

The frost killed all but three apples on our apple tree last year, but this year we had ALL the apples! I invited lots of our neighbors to come take some too because there was plenty to go around.

Our neighbor's pear tree, which hangs over our fence a ways, always produces the best pears. We didn't get any last year, but again, this year they were back in full force. Our neighbors also have an enormous apricot tree which we enjoyed earlier in the summer and I made a bunch of jam which lasts us all year long.

This cute big sister who loves to hold her little brother, who ain't so little anymore.

The fair with Nick, Megan, Jeremiah, Julia and Colin. A little Snapchat video I saved is at the end of this post!

Sweet bubba fresh out of the bath. He used to hate baths but now he can't get enough.

These two spend hours outside together in the summer. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies, but I think the friend part is starting to take over a bit more.

A mini hike to see some changing leaves one afternoon.

We spent an afternoon at the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago with friends. It was pretty much dead so we had it all to ourselves. It was warm and delightful.

We went to This is the Place Heritage Park with my mom and Nick, Megan and Jeremiah last weekend for the beginning of their Halloween festivities and it was so much fun! I took such a fun video on Snapchat and have been kicking myself because I forgot to save it. I have literally been super bummed about it for the last two days. Here we have a little spoiler for our family costume this year...Alice and the Queen of Hearts.

The beginning of the little costume parade at the park. It was so fun!

Sunday night YouTube videos with Grandpa. He always finds the weirdest stuff and the girls eat it up.

So I have been loving Snapchat lately because it makes me take a ton more videos than I normally would, and it saves them all for you! You can go back later and download them to your phone, so I just started uploading all of them to YouTube so I would have them in one place. Anyway, I rarely post videos on my blog but I want to do more of that because I feel like they are more fun than pictures a lot of the time. Here is a boat load of them from the last little while, including some from over the summer. I just want to have these one here for us to watch later, so I won't be offended if you don't watch all of them (or any of them). (:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

mr. william

William is obviously the third child because I have done a terrible job documenting his life. Oy! But don't let my lack of documentation fool you...I am obsessed with this baby! He makes life so dang sweet and he is now at one of my most favorite ages. I feel like between five and eight months is a true sweet spot. They can smile and laugh and interact but they aren't all over the place and into everything yet.

The newborn stage is always hard for me. The lack of sleep, being sore, struggling to nurse and then just feeling plain overwhelmed at having another human to care for about does me in every time. This time was particularly tough for some reason, but after about three months I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Will was quite fussy if he wasn't sleeping or eating and I think I get some major postpartum anxiety or something because I just felt totally off and had a hard time even leaving the house when Will first arrived. Once the weather really warmed up and I got the hang of Will's schedule and juggling three kids at the store, we started venturing out a bit more and I could kind of breathe again. To be honest, juggling three kids at home or out and about is still a little tricky, but a woman I know who now has eight children recently told me that each time you have another child you're a total wuss again. It takes lots of time and energy, but eventually you build up your motherhood muscles and figure out how to make it work with another one in tow. Then, once you've figured it out with that one, you have another baby and become a wuss all over again. She told me that soon enough I'd have it figured out and feel much better, and bless her, she was right. She is a rockstar. I am surely not shooting for eight children myself, but hearing her say she felt that same way every time she had another baby, especially after her third, gave me courage.

Even with his initial fussiness, William has been a really great baby. He has always eaten well, slept decently (although we are going through a bit of a rough spot right now), and has generally been really happy and smiley. He is not terribly cuddly and prefers to look around to see what's going on in the world, but I'm hoping as he gets older he'll be my little snuggle buddy. One can hope, right? For the first three or four months of his life he pretty much refused a binky, and then after not giving him a bottle for a few weeks, totally refused a bottle too. It was a hard stage of life because I was his only form of comfort and nourishment. Robert worked really hard to get the kid to take a binky and then all of a sudden, around four months, the heavens parted he just started taking one. It changed my life!!! And then around that same time he also started taking a bottle. Can I tell you how wonderful that day was? I felt like a free woman! Like I could leave him with someone for more than two hours without feeling like I needed to rush back? Is it hilarious that that was the most liberating thing to me? He's still not the king of bottle taking, but he'll take it if he's incredibly hungry. Will is also a very engaged baby and looks at people when they are talking or watches people move around the room. In fact he's so engaged lately that he has a hard time nursing without being distracted. Nursing him in public is a joke because he hates the cover over his head and if anyone makes a peep the kid is rolling his head around, trying to see what's going on.

The girls love their brother more than I even imagined they would, and he loves them too...from a distance. Both Minnie and Lou can be a bit rough with him, but it's not out of malice so much as just curiosity. He loves to watch them play and dance and sometimes they can just be silly in front of him and get the best belly laughs out of him. Their eyes light up when they see that he's awake after a nap and they have to run over and give him a hug or a kiss. I think one of my favorite parts of motherhood has been to see the love my kids have for each other. I love that they have each other and I hope so much that they will remain close throughout their lives.

William is still a little temperamental, loves to be held, and is only really pleasant for 45 minutes or so before he's tired again and ready for another nap. But, when he's pleasant he's really pleasant and generally if you leave the house or go outside, the distraction is enough to yank him back to his pleasant self for awhile. He is pretty darn quick to smile and makes lots of friends wherever we go. He's started eating solids like a champ and is chubby and huge, just how I like my babies. He hated baths when he was new, but has recently come to love them and splashes so much there's hardly a drip of water left by the end of the bath and I'm sopping wet. I still swaddle him because the guy cannot get enough of his hands and has a hard time settling down if they're free. Luckily he doesn't roll over much (because I'm lazy and rarely do tummy time) so he stays pretty much in one spot and doesn't roll in his crib yet. His monster spit ups have kind of subsided, thank the heavens, but are not entirely gone quite yet. He doesn't show any signs of teething but will chew on your shoulder and make a big puddle of drool on your shirt when you hold him. He's starting to sit up, plays with toys, squawks the day away and makes us all swoon with the dimple on his left cheek.

Every time I have a baby I sometimes just stare at them in wonder thinking, "How did this come out of me?" I ask this not only because they become quite enormous quite quickly and the thought that I housed them in my belly is kind of unfathomable, but mostly I ask this because these babies are just pure magic to me. It is such a gift to help in creating these little sweet people. To think that William's sparkly little eyes, his perfect chubby feet, and those sweet, soft cheeks all formed inside of me, as a part of both me and Robert, fills me with so much awe and gratitude. My babies are my world and I am so grateful that William is part of our family. It was a struggle to get him here and I will thank my lucky stars every day that all the heartache I felt as I faced the prospect of infertility a few years ago has totally melted away. William, my dear, you are my little ray of sunshine. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

summer at the cabin

The cabin will forever and always be one of our family's favorite places. If you ask the girls if they'd rather go to the cabin or to Lagoon, they will likely say the cabin. The fact that something can trump Lagoon is huge, especially for Minnie. These pictures are from a last minute trip we took up there in July and I actually asked Minnie that very thing that weekend...Lagoon or the cabin? Look what won out!

There were an unbelievable amount of wild flowers blooming that weekend, and as you can see, the girls had the time of their lives picking bouquets of them to add to their giant cups they placed on the table as a centerpiece for all of our meals. Minnie and Lou spent about 50% of their time picking flowers and the other 50% of the time on the swings and they were entirely satisfied. It was such a relaxing weekend. I love the cabin when lots of people are there, but now that we have more kids, I'm starting to prefer it when it's just our little family. We can do things at our speed and the whole day just feels slow and easy. 

Hopefully we will make it up there again once more before the snow falls. The season is just never long enough. I just love that we have a place that we can make memories with our kids, and what makes it even more special is that it's a place that Robert holds so close to his heart because it's  where he made memories with his family when he was young.