Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Sunshine is Four!

Five things I remember about expecting you:
1. Your dad and the boys attended the ultrasound where we would find out your gender. Bubba hid his face from the screen because he thought the image on it looked like a "monster." Junior was depressed because he wanted another brother (even though he wasn't always a huge fan of the one he DID have). Dad and I were excited to have a little girl to take to see the princesses at Disneyland someday and also figured a daughter would be more likely to come visit us in our old age :-)
2. You technically joined us on our first cruise to Mexico when I was 5 months pregnant with you. I distinctly remember you wanting a lot of strawberry/chocolate frozen yogurt. Smart little girl!
3. I went a little overboard on shopping for you. Your clothes were so much more fun to buy than boy clothes. I would hold your little outfits and try to imagine your tiny self in them. Now I hold those same clothes and can't believe they ever contained you.
4. We saw the new Star Trek movie the night before we were scheduled to come in for me to be induced. Any time a full term pregnant woman willingly sits through a 2.5 hour movie in a theater, you can know that it is a testament to both her interest in movies and her love of kid free date nights. We knew we would be home bound for a little while.
5. You were breech. Every week for the last six weeks, my Dr. would send me away from my appointments with her fingers crossed that you would turn on your own and each week, you stubbornly stayed put. Toward the end, every time we went in, the dr. would warn me that if you hadn't turned by the next visit on your own, you would have to be externally turned (ouch!) and then immediately induced for delivery. It got really nerve wracking since every time I went in, we knew there was a chance we would be sent into the hospital within a day. 
Five Things I Remember About the Day You Were Born 
1. The doctors did have to turn you externally (and it sucks about as much as it seems like it would). They wanted to induce me right away so you didn't have time to turn back. did anyway within about 10 minutes. Sort of. You were wedged in such a way that one foot was laid flat on top of your head and your hand was wedged against your face and my hipbone. They had to bring an ultrasound machine in just to figure out what you were up to in there. Then, the nurses called all the other nurses to come see the amazing contortionist baby :-) They prepped me for a C-section, but you decided that you had made your point and shifted into a normal position.  20 minutes we were holding you.
2.  We had a shortlist of names, but nothing we were 100% sold on (except your middle name). We were looking through the baby name book up until the minute you were born. We figured that once we saw you, you might tell us what your name was.
3. I was so happy to see your head of thick, dark hair. It was so soft, I couldn't stop touching it. Later, when we took you home, we all fought to pet the baby :-)  You made small squeaky noises like a mouse.
4. Your eyes were bright blue right from the start. You never had that muddy newborn color. I loved that. 
5. You were familiar from the first minute I saw you. I felt like I was meeting an old, loved friend. 

Five Things I Love About You Now
1. Every single morning, you come into my room around 6 a.m. You pat my arm to wake me up and say "Good Morning Mom, can I cuddle you?" You climb in and fall asleep until the boys stir and you jump out to join them. It's my favorite time of day.
2. You are such a girly girl. You love the nail painting and the bows and the dresses and the Barbies and toys I have been saving since I was little. I can finally buy birthday and Christmas presents with confidence because I know what you will like. The boys are still kind of a mystery to me when it comes to entertainment.
3. You really believe you are a Princess. All it takes is a dress or a crown and you are transformed. I often find you twirling in front of your mirror in your room. I know that eventually you will have to fight for your self confidence like all teenage girls do, which is why I love watching it come so easily to you now and indulging you in feeling like a princess. You are so beautiful.
4. You sing constantly (and you constantly want me to sing and dance with you). Every night as I tuck you in, you have to have "the moon song" the "sunshine song" (which always stopped your crying like magic when you were a baby) and "the star song" (twinkle, twinkle little star). The songs  have to be in that order and I have to be sitting on the floor by your bed. After your light is off and I am doing my errands around the house, you sing yourself to sleep. I love hearing it, but the boys in the room next to you don't like it quite as much.
5. Conversations with you these days are so fun. There are many times when I ache for my tiny baby girl, but it is always tempered by what a fun little girl you have grown into. Tonight, you asked me where we all came from. Since we were in the middle of Walmart, I picked the easy answer rather than the technical one and answered that we all came from Heaven. You asked me what heaven looks like and I gave you my version and asked for yours. It was darling and sweet and (middle of Walmart, notwithstanding) is going to be one of my favorite memories of you. At some point, I am going to have to get over my surprise that you can actually converse with me thoughtfully rather than just in the basic demands of a toddler. I can see that I am going to have to work hard to let my baby grow up.

Five Things I Wish For You (Out of So, So Many Things....)
1. I wish a best friend for you that can be as close as a sister. I never thought you would be my last baby, but I know now that you are not likely to ever have a sister at this point. Although I believe you will be close with your brothers, there is nothing like a sister for girls once you get past the fighting teenage years. I am lucky enough to have amazing sisters and although I am a little sad that you won't have sisters to grow up with, I know that friends can help fill the role as well. I have been extremely  lucky to have friends that I loved like sisters throughout every point in my life.
2.  I wish for you a childhood that holds as many traditions and good memories as mine does. I hope that the memories and traditions we create as a family are a source of happy remembrances for you and inspire you to carry them on with your own kids. Between school and work and being a single parent, I don't always have the time and patience and means that I wish I had to do my best work as a mom. Many nights I go to bed wondering if I have failed for the day. But, the energy and love I pour into holidays and birthdays and special occasions is my love language for you and your brothers. It's one of my favorite ways to show you that I love you and that you are so special. And I hope you will remember that in case telling you every day doesn't sink in ;-)
3. I wish for you to be worthy of your names. You are named after your grandmother and your great-grandmother who I never got to meet, but always wish I had. Your Grandma is a kind, strong, generous woman who loves you very much. Your great grandmother didn't get to live long enough in this world to see her son and daughter grow up, but I believe she sees you and is proud to have such a sweet little namesake. I know both women would be forever proud to have you make your name into one that people associate with kindness and grace, intelligence and comfort. Take pride in your surname too. Your paternal family is just as noteworthy and wonderful and it is an honor to have that branch in your family tree.
4. I wish for your burdens to be bearable. Trials will one escapes that. But, I hope that you are able to allow the things you are sent to deal with in your life to strengthen instead of crush or define you. In order for this to happen, you need to be following the right paths and making the right choices so you are in a position to deal with them. If I loved you less, I would wish for your life to have no problems at all (I feel crazy even writing this because, as your mother, if I ever have to watch you go through even 1/4 of the anguish I have been through the last four years, I am not sure what I would do.) But, I know that you are a great soul. And I know that you are here to become even greater and no one can do that without learning to endure well. So, do hard things and rely on those things that you know are true. Savor the moments that are really great and don't take them for granted because they will bolster you up when things feel too difficult. 
5. I wish for you to find someone honorable (but not until you have had time to become fully acquainted with yourself as an individual. If you try to get married at 18 or 20, we will have a fight!) Obviously, I have my own reasons for wishing this, because I am well acquainted with the fallout of the opposite, but for this, I am mostly thinking of before things went wrong. I felt friendship and love and security for a long time in my partnership and I really want that for you. (Except I want yours to last for an eternity instead of just a decade) ;-) I can't promise this for you and you can't even ensure it yourself because everyone has their agency, so I am starting now with the praying and wishing on stars (and sacrificing my best cow to the moon goddess, etc. etc. just to cover all my bases.) Many (many, many, many, many!!!) years from now, I hope to see you with someone who never, ever forgets what a princess he has earned.

Happy Birthday Sunshine! You are my favorite girl!

Monday, February 4, 2013

To My Darling Firstborn...

One of the three cutest children ever born.
You are 9 years old today. As thrilled as I am with the loving, funny, caring boy you are, I am trying hard not to think about how quickly the last nine years have gone by and the fact that in another 9, you will be flying the nest for a mission or college or whatever life adventure beckons you first. Mostly what I feel is profoundly grateful to have been your mommy, your mama and now your mom.
A year or so, you requested that I stop giving you hugs in public and you grudgingly allowed them any other time. I knew that day was coming and it make me sad, but I obliged. Lately, you have been creeping back. You sit next to me on the couch and casually inch closer until you are laying against my shoulder (I know better than to treat it as anything but normal.) You take your turn resting your head on my lap with the other kids during movie night and follow me from room to room during my chores, just wanting to "hang out." I love it. And I know it won't last long. That's the hard part about being a mom; letting your kids pick their boundaries and sitting on your hands sometimes with the faith that they are still bound to you even when they start pulling away.  You have accepted that you are always going to be my baby no matter how old you are and I have accepted that even if you are my baby, I have to let you grow and develop.
You are an old soul and have been delighting us all from the minute you were born. It says a lot about you that we were so sad about each phase you left behind, because we couldn't imagine what could be more delightful than where you were. You have always been silly and love to make everyone around you laugh, but you are also the child that is sensitive. You notice when I am struggling into the house with an armful of groceries and offer to help. You help distract your siblings when you can see I need a moment to accomplish something else. You speak rationally to me when you are angry instead of reacting with the tantrums that a child of your age might. I am simultaneously proud to see you step up to be man of the house and guilty that despite my efforts, you seem to feel like you need to be more than just a kid. My prayers for you are that doing so will bless you in your journey to being a good man rather than burden you with feeling too much too soon. I wish you the very best of things, even (maybe especially) when they are not easily acquired.
I have treasured all nine years of you...

At One, you were such a beautiful baby that people would stop us wherever we went just to admire your beautiful eyes, covet your eyelashes and enjoy your cheerful temperament. You would wave and blow kisses at everyone as we grocery shopped.
At Two, you knew your own mind, but were still cute enough to get away with almost anything. Not a day went by without one of us, at some point, saying "MAN, I love this kid!!"

At Three, I felt like you were so grown up, I could hardly stand it. You were a great big brother 3/4 of the time and a worthy foe for Bubba the other 1/4.

Four Years Old. Raffi the giraffe came into our lives and so did your love of art. Hours and hours and reams and reams of paper were dedicated to your muse. I think I still have them all :-)

Turning Five on a cruise to Mexico with the family. A big year of changes and you gained a sister. You were a big comfort to both your parents this year.

Six years old (with BFF and cousin 'EJ'). You really started writing this year. Pages and pages of your stories and comics and love/hate notes kept me constantly entertained.

Seven. The year of Raving Rabbids and plungers and Raving Rabbids and being silly and Raving Rabbids....

At Eight, you were a clown. Always trying to make us laugh and always the leader of the games with your younger brother and sister. Always drawing, always writing, always coming up with YouTube videos that I have to try really hard to convincingly laugh at :-) Legos are your muse this year. You can't bring yourself to ever take apart anything that you build.

Nine. I can't wait to meet you...

Happy 9th Birthday
Monkey Man!

Monday, December 10, 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

by: Junior, Age 8, Budding Cartoonist and Scary Movie Aficionado

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Favorite Things: Gymboree

This post is sponsored by Gymboree Children’s Clothing. Bring a friend to a Gymboree store and sign up for Gymboree Rewards together and you'll both SAVE 25% off an in-store purchase.

Junior was almost 2 before I was formally introduced to the highly addicting children's clothing line, Gymboree. I still regret all that time I wasted dressing him in anything else. Once I discovered it, Gymboree clothing very quickly became a staple in my children's closets. I was initially hooked by the fact that every time Gymboree puts out a line, it is all themed and mix and match style. A few months before Bubba came along, I was charmed into buying way too much of a yellow, green and brown monkey line (see below). It was my favorite to dress him in. I still have most of it because I can't quite bring myself to give it away. I figure if I keep them long enough they will be vintage. ;-)
I was kind of a sucker for anything with ears on it
By the time Bubba grew into the two year old clothes I had gotten for Junior, I realized that out of the many hand-me-downs he had, the Gymboree items were the ones that stood up best to frequent washings and rough and tumble of another little boy. Once Bubba grew out of the clothes, they went through at least one or two little nephews before they finally wore out. Sis also did her best to test the durability of her own Gymboree clothing. 
Sis wearing her goldfish romper and some melted M'n'M's
As I looked over my old pictures to find documentation of some of my favorite outfits, I realized how often I turned to Gymboree to dress my kids for special occasions. For instance, Sis came home from the hospital in a Gymboree outfit (and blanket). The boys had been referring to her for months as 'baby sister.' When I came across this onesie, it was perfect.  
My boys waited for Santa in their new Gymboree jammies...

More than once...
 When my best friend found out she would be having boy/girl twins, we hit Gymboree (frequently) for the outfits from the matching lines. I can't honestly say that I ever craved twins, but I was tempted when I saw all the adorable matchy stuff she found for them. Gymboree was one of the only places she was able to outfits that matched without being identical. They have many themed lines that have both boy and girl versions. This works particularly well when you need coordinating clothes for family pictures.

Aren't they cute?

Over the last five or six years, our kids got pretty used to being dragged into Gymboree when we would take them to the playground at the mall. We will both go through some serious withdrawals when our girls are too old to be dressed by Gymboree.
Speaking of shopping with friends, take one of yours into your local Gymboree. Bond, buy cute and durable clothes for your kids and spend some time helping each other justify that skirt/sweater/hat/matching shoes. While you are at it, sign up for their rewards program to save yourself 25% on your purchase. Your kids need clothes, right? It's like you are practically saving money (see how easy it is? Call me if you get stuck. I can help you justify any purchase.)    
Gymboree Rewards Program Highlights: you will get a $5 credit for every 250 points you earn (I have one sitting in my email inbox this very moment.) You will also get Members only discounts, direct mail offers and early access to events & promotions.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Sometimes my oldest son hides the math homework he doesn't want to do in the bottom of the garbage can underneath the gross chicken fat from dinner and hopes I won't notice.

Sometimes, my second son slaps a full cup of ginger ale across the dining room and kitchen during a tantrum and then vents his frustration at getting in trouble for that by taking apart his room.

Sometimes my daughter cuts her own hair for the third time in less than 4 months, paints on the wall all the way up the stairs and empties a full package of mini wheats down the stairs (because, of course the vacuum is clogged and I haven't had the chance to take it apart yet today).
Sometimes I really miss my cuddly, uncomplicated babies... ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sister's first date

A month or so ago, J asked if he could reserve Sis for a date night to take her to a special Princess Dinner that was held at a local reception center (that looked like a castle). We chose her most "twirliest" dress and curled her hair and piled it up.  J showed up in a suit and tie brought her flowers to match (on her wrist).

She still talks about that night and "her castle and Prince Daddy" and her pretty yellow flowers.

Over all, it was kind of adorable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bubba turns 6!

 To be fair, Bubba has been 6 for over a month now and it still kills me! He will always be my baby boy. Bubba's party was pretty low key this year. I was in the middle of the "holy crap!! What have I gotten myself into???" phase of a really brutal semester, so I was overjoyed when he requested cupcakes and a party with his friends at Classic skating.

He did ask for an Avengers party, so I tracked down all the Avengers stuff I could (which, surprisingly, wasn't much). He got cake for breakfast....

...and a whole yard of bubblegum (which is almost gone). His favorites were; a pogo stick, laser tag guns from Aunt Kate, Heelies from Aunt Bek and a Captain America shield from the Bradshaws.

Pizza, friends, soda...

...sort of pathetic cupcakes, which were marbled red and blue on the inside, but not super impressive on the outside...

...and a sleepover with our BFF's: the Bradshaws.

My little man is growing up way too fast, but I am so proud of him and always so happy to be his mom!