Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter - 2013!

Happy Easter everyone!  I hope you have had a wonderful day!  The girls were excited that they finally got to wear the Easter dresses we purchased a few weeks ago.  The weather was rainy and not too warm this morning, but we had to wear them anyway!  Pictures??  Of course!

Remember this picture from last year's Easter post?

Well, this year was only slightly better as Rachel was still NOT happy about having her picture made.  Oh well, they looked pretty in their dresses anyway!

And, at least these two were smiling!

We asked Megan to take a picture of David and me.  Emily jumped in at the last second!

There, of course, were Easter basket goodies. (Sorry for the blurry picture)

One of the biggest hits were some Crayola Window crayons the Easter Bunny put in Emily's basket.  They led to scenes like this:

 And some cool creations like this!

We enjoyed a moving church service with some fantastic music.  Then, David's family joined us for lunch.  We had way too much delicious food and some great family time.  (David's dad has been in the hospital.  He got home yesterday, so we were extra glad to have everyone there!)  By the afternoon, the rain had stopped and the sun actually came out.  The girls spent a couple hours outside riding their bikes and blowing bubbles.

Overall, it was a joyful, relaxing, wonderful day!

Easter Blessings to all of you!!!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting sentimental about clothes

The calendar says it is Spring.  The weather, however, is telling a different story.  The past week has been down right cold.  Despite the weather, Easter is next weekend and the girls actually wanted to go spring shopping last weekend.  We got each of them a few outfits, but I decided I better clean out their spring/summer clothes from last year before went went too crazy buying more stuff they really don't need.

Earlier this week, while the girls were at school, I spent a while going through Emily's things and I found myself feeling rather sentimental about several of the outfits that no longer fit her.  Several of the items/outfits have been handed down through all three of my girls.  For most of them, I can remember who purchased/gave the outfit, if it was some special occasion, and usually have some memory associated with it.  Is that crazy??  Here are a few examples.

This was Emily's absolute favorite outfit last summer.  The skirt was a hand-me-down from a dear friend (well, from her daughter) and the little tank top cam from Target.  This outfit is quintessential Emily - ruffles, flowers, flowy.

This dress was probably Emily's second favorite thing to wear last summer.  My mom actually bought it for Megan a couple years ago.  Megan wore it some, but not as much as Emily did.  I called it the ladybug dress, but Emily deemed it the criss cross dress because the back looks like this:
Which is one of the reasons she liked it so much.

This one really gets me.  This is a skort I bought from Children's Place years ago.  I actually bought two at the time - one for Rachel (a size 5) and one for Megan (a size 4).  Back then, Rachel loved this "rainbow skirt" as she called it and, once in a while, she and Megan wore them together.  Then, as they were passed down, Emily and Megan wore them a few times.  This on in the picture is the last one - the size 5 - and now it doesn't fit any of my girls anymore. ::Sniff::Sniff::

Remember Emily wearing this dress when I posted this video back in July, 2011???  She was only three and she was the cutest thing!!!  She looks like such a baby in that video and she still says "calepitter"! :-)  Originally, my mom bought this for Megan.  I remember Megan wearing it to her PreK class where another girl had the same dress.  They thought it was funny when they dressed alike and Megan always wondered if the other girl would be wearing her caterpillar dress, too.

I guess the good news is that we have a sweet friend from church to whom we can now pass these clothes along.  Emily loves to see her friend wearing her "old" clothes and, from what her mother tells me, the friend loves to get things from Emily, too.

It's funny how these inanimate objects can hold so many memories and how they can make this rarely super-sentimental mommy feel just that way -super sentimental.

What "things" hold memories for you??  Do you enjoy cleaning out or does it make you a little sad??

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

What a great day!

Yesterday, I was not looking forward to today.  Megan's soccer team had pictures at 9:15, a game at 9:45.  Then, we would have to go straight to the barn where Rachel and Megan take riding lessons because they had a horse show at 11:00.  The forecast?? Cold!  At 10:00am the predicted high temp was 35.  I took a giant bag full of gloves, scarves, hats, and blankets and was mentally prepared to freeze.  Despite the crummy weather, though, it turned out to be a great day!

We started at Megan's soccer game.  She got to play goalie for the first time and she loved it!!!!!  The other team scored on her a couple times, but, to be fair, they scored on our other goalie a couple times, too.  She got lots of great stops and everyone was impressed by her effort!  Unfortunately, her team lost 4-0.  Usually, after they lose, she is not too happy.  This time, however, she got in the car and exclaimed, "That was the best game EVER!!!!!"  We even went this evening and bought her some goalie gloves because she definitely plans to play that position again.  (Only downside is that I was so busy jumping up and down on the sidelines - partly from nerves and partly to stay warm - I didn't even think to get my camera out an snap a picture of her!!!  Mom of the year award right here!)

After the game, we scurried off to the girls' horse show.  It was a very informal "in house" show, and believe it or not, there was actually some light sleet while we were there.  But, the girls both did great.  

Megan got a 5th place and a 1st place ribbon:

Rachel got a 2nd place and a 1st place ribbon:

And, oh my sweet little Emily - she was a trooper through all of it.  She played with some other children,  had lots of snacks, and stayed bundled up a good bit of the time.  Anything for sisters, right?!

As long as we have blankie, we're good to go!

A little hot chocolate always makes it better!

We grabbed some lunch and then headed home to relax for a bit.  I decided I didn't want to cook (and by suppertime, the sun had actually come out), so we went out for pizza and topped it off with a stop at Krispy Kreme.

I'd say it doesn't get much better than that!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Saturday, too!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Opportunity Knocking

I attend a Bible study at my church with a group of women I definitely consider my friends.  They are wonderful mothers and inspirational women.  Currently, our group is reading a book by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts.  I am not a huge fan of her over-flowery writing style, but the overall message of the book is great so far.  Up to this point, we have read first four chapters and the fourth really hit home for me.  This particular quote was like a punch in the gut:

"Being in a hurry.  Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me.  I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry.  But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing. . . Through all that haste I thought I was making up time.  Turns out I was throwing it away."

That pretty much sums up my life these days.  I'm so busy rushing to get everyone everywhere they need to be on time; rushing to get homework completed, supper on the table, baths done, bedtime routines finished.  Rushing. There is always something else to do - laundry, dishes, emails.  If I can just get this thing finished quicker then I'll have time for that thing.  As I rush the kids (and myself) through the motions of the day, I forget - or rather neglect - to really take them in; to enjoy them; to laugh with them; to talk with them - really talk.  Their requests to play, to listen, or to just snuggle become an inconvenience rather than an opportunity.

So, today, I decided it would be different.  I decided I  would be different.  Thanks to a dreary, rainy day Megan's soccer game was cancelled and we ended up with a free afternoon.

For starters, I got on the treadmill - something I rarely do when the children are home.  As expected, they soon came to hover.  Megan and Emily literally lay in the floor for a while watching my feet pound the rubber.  Then, Megan with her boundless energy, began to keep pace with me, running around the room as I ran and walking when I walked.  Emily lay on my exercise mat and tried out some yoga poses.  Rachel joined, too, creating her own yoga poses.  When I was finished, they each wanted a turn.  I envied their enthusiasm as they begged to go faster and faster.  Instead of viewing their presence as a hindrance to my workout,  I let them in and found that their giggles and conversation actually enhanced my workout and made it pass more easily.

While I was cooking dinner, Emily came in the kitchen after having changed herself into a pink, swirly, poofy dress.  She helped me unload the dishwasher, carefully sorting the silverware into the proper slots in the drawer.  She cleaned the sink for me, giggling as she covered it with soap suds and so proud of herself when she was finished.  As I was putting food on the plates, a fun song came on my iPod that was playing in the background, so we stopped and had our own little dance party in the middle of the kitchen.  She smiled.  I smiled.

After showers, Rachel wanted me to straighten her long, naturally curly hair.  This is no easy feat.  It involves a blow dryer, a flat iron, and about 20 minutes in in front of the mirror.  But, I took the time.  She beamed.  She hugged me and thanked me and hugged me again.

Megan would rather do math problems than pick up a book any time, so getting her to complete her daily homework assignment of twenty minutes of reading is a struggle.  For the last couple nights, she has asked that I come sit with her and read, too.   A simple thing really.  At first, I viewed it as a bothersome request.  After all, I had laundry and dishes and lunchboxes waiting for me, too.  I surrendered to the request, however, primarily out of guilt.  We've repeated this routine for three nights now and I have quickly come to cherish that time.  Tonight, for example, Megan, who is seldom still or quiet, lay against me as the glow of her Nook lit her face.  I ran my fingers through her short, curly hair and there was no sound or movement except the turning of my pages and the raindrops tapping on the window.  It was quite the opposite of annoying - it was rather calming and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again tomorrow.

Now believe me, I do not plan to sit here and declare to you that from now on things will be just like they were today.  I am a realist and I know that the busyness will return and my level of annoyance will once again rise.  But, it was truly amazing to see how this simple shift - choosing to see opportunity instead of inconvenience - changed my environment today.  The girls actually played together and spoke civilly to each other at the dinner table.  There was laughter and happiness and peace.  After they were asleep, I sat down to type this post and I was able to do it because I was not utterly exhausted or stressed about tomorrow's schedule.  The entire atmosphere in our home was different - better, lighter, happier.  My hope is that, over time, this new outlook will become more of a habit - my go-to strategy, so to speak - so that, when we get crazy busy and we are all driving each other mad, I can re-adjust my outlook.  I can remind myself to be grateful for the little things (the whole premise of the Voskamp book) and I can remember that just a little shift in outlook or attitude can make a world of difference!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sometimes they actually act like sisters

I have posted on here a few times before - o.k. several times before - about my girls' fighting and how it drives me INSANE!  Occasionally, however, there are moments in which they actually do manage to act sisterly.  When those moments occur I have to write about them here for posterity and to remind myself that they really do love each other.

So, picture this scene:

Rachel - my animal loving vegetarian/future PETA president who loves ALL wild creatures;  who once got upset with me for killing a spider; and who has rescued countless ladybugs and earthworms from imminent death -  had gone upstairs with Emily- my dainty little princess who does not like outside or dirt and is absolutely terrified of bugs  (as evidenced in this post from last year) -to take a shower together.

Confident that Rachel was capable of handling the shower, I stayed downstairs to scarf some dinner and savor a fleeting moment of solitude.  (Megan was at soccer practice.)  From my seat at the kitchen table, I heard Emily in a scared, trembling voice squeal "Rachel, get it!"  Then I heard a WHACK! that was unmistakenly a shoe smacking the floor followed by Rachel saying "There! It's dead!!"  I, of course, went upstairs to check on the commotion and quickly discovered the source of the drama - a stink bug.  It was obviously dead; upside down on the bathroom tile with legs curled.  Emily stood there, petrified and crying.  Rachel stood close by with a shoe in her hand.  Normally, Rachel would have gathered the bug and set it free outdoors.  In this case though, the desire to protect her scared little sister prevailed and overcame her instinct to save the bug!!!

O.K.  Yes - perhaps I am being a little overdramatic about the whole thing, but it really was a big deal to me.  Until later, of course, when I praised Rachel for her valiant act and she confessed that the bug was already dead.  Apparently, she had seen the bug and, anticipating the reaction, told Emily not to look.  (She now realizes that is a sure fire way to get someone to look exactly where you don't want them to!)  When Emily saw the bug and became distressed, Rachel tried to tell her the bug was dead, but Emily was not convinced.  The whole smack with the shoe was simply Rachel's attempt to convince and calm her sister.  Not quite the against-her-instincts act of valor I had originally been so proud of, but still a noble thing just the same.

They really do love each other.  Somewhere down deep inside they really do.  Sometimes that love is enough to overcome everything else.

Side Note: Ironically, earlier that day, I had been with my second grader on a field trip to our local science center where they were given a presentation on bugs and spiders.  They (and all the adult chaperones) were given the opportunity to touch one of these:
Northern Walking Stick

and one of these:  
Madagascar Hissing Cockraoch

and one of these:
Rose Hair Tarantula
Megan touched them all.  However, if they are still doing that same field trip when Emily is in second grade, I think we might just have to play hooky that day - or else sit very, very close to the exit during the presentation!!!  Oy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hello Again!

Hello World!!  It's good to be back on my blog - I've missed you!  I know you have been anxiously awaiting my return, haven't you??  Well, thanks for hanging around!  Let me explain what's been keeping me too busy to blog lately . . . .

Our schedule was already pretty packed with the following:
Tuesday - Emily has dance class and Rachel has gymnastics.
Wednesday - We go to church for supper and the girls all participate in the children's choirs.
Thursday - Rachel has a riding lesson.
Friday - Megan ha  riding lesson.

For the last couple of weeks, though, things have really kicked into overdrive and gotten even crazier!

For starters, Rachel made the jump rope team at their school back in November.  They only had practice once a week right after school, so it was no big deal.  Until three weeks ago, that is.  At that point, they needed to prepare for a performance and their coach decided they needed to practice EVERY SINGLE DAY!  So, for 2 weeks, every single day, I had to pick up the other two girls from school and then go back an hour later to get Rachel.  I suppose it was worth it, though. They had their performance earlier this week and they did great.  Rachel had a huge smile on her face the whole time.  Here's a little video snippet of one of her tricks: (sorry it is not exactly a high quality video!)

Secondly, Megan has signed up to play soccer this Spring.  She had asked half-heartedly a few times before, but this time she was serious.  She begged to play and said she didn't care if she was on a team with her friends or not.  So, I signed her up and she did actually end up on a team with her friends.  However, that added soccer practice to our schedule two weeknights per week.  She has her first game this weekend and now that games are starting, they will practice less.  They'll have only one weeknight game per week and one game on Saturday (I can do Saturdays!).  She looks pretty snazzy in her soccer gear, too, huh??

Also, in the midst of all that busyness, we celebrated my birthday.  My parents came to visit and my mom made this wonderful, fantabulous cake of awesomeness:

Rachel also planned and fairly successfully pulled off a small surprise party for me.

Finally, I have made a pledge to myself to get back in shape and, hopefully, lose a few of the pounds I have put on over the last few months.  To that end, I have been working out on the treadmill and with some free weights at least 3-4 times a week for the past 4 weeks.  The time I spend exercising in the mornings after the girls are off to school is time that I would normally use for blogging.  Sadly, I have only lost about one pound, but I will persevere and I'll just have to find a way to fit in writing somewhere else.

To all of that, add in a few church committee meetings and responsibilities, plus an impending yearbook deadline that rests solely on my shoulders.  Top it off with all the usual stuff like laundry, dishes, meals, grocery shopping, etc. and it has just about been too much!!  For a while, my lack of blogging was adding to my stress, but I finally just had to put that on the back burner and let it go for a bit.  Again, I really appreciate of of you who have patiently waited for a new post and I sincerely hope that things have settled down enough that I can get back to blogging a little more regularly!! 

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Busy, Busy

Hi folks!!!  I just wanted to throw out a quick post to let you know that my family and I are still alive and kickin'!!  You may have noticed a lack of posts from me lately.  I'll spare you the details - just suffice it to say that we have been INSANELY busy for the past 2 weeks.  I have barely had time to breathe much less do laundry/cook/shower write any blog posts.  By the end of this week, things should calm down a bit and I will, hopefully, be back on the blog more regularly!!!  Thanks for hanging tight and being patient!!!!!

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