Monday, September 23, 2013

Kindergarten Boy!

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Liam is our Kindergarten boy now, and he was very much ready for this step. We decided to homeschool Isabella this year, and I considered doing the same for Liam, but ultimately decided Kindergarten would be a great thing for him--and it has been! My friend Misty and I take turns driving Liam and her son to school each morning, and he has loved that. I've loved watching Tyler and Liam become even better friends.

As for getting home each day, I gave Liam the option of me picking him up or him riding the bus home, and after a lot of thought, he decided he wanted to give the bus one try to see if he liked it. It was a hit, so he's mostly taken the bus home each day. It's nice that he and his buddy Tyler can sit by each other. (BTW, Thanks for the pictures, Misty!)

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Liam has hardly shown any sign of nervousness about Kindergarten. I think watching Isabella go to school for the last few years took any potential fear and anxiety out of it for him... and for me as well! When I sent Isabella off to school for the first time, it was really scary for me as a mother, but this time around, I was a little sad that he's old enough to go to school, but mostly just excited because I know he is in good hands. He has the same teacher that Isabella had, and we absolutely adore her.

Below Liam and Tyler are off for their classrooms. Misty took these pictures--super cute! I love that Liam is holding the Friend magazine. He wanted to take it to school to look at in the car and on the bus. He also likes to haul around his Lego magazine. He can never seem to get things packed back up quickly enough, though. Still getting used to his giant backpack, I guess. :)

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Here are some pictures that I took on the morning of his first day. It took some coaxing to get him to look at the camera, and he flew off the steps when I told him he was done with pictures. He was ready to go! We got to school just as the bell was ringing. I felt a little lame for almost being late on the first day! He didn't want me to walk him to his classroom door, so I just kept myself at a distance and watched him go in. I'm amazed at his confidence and independence. This boy is definitely growing up!
 
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Something cute that I remember him telling me when he got home from his first day was along the lines of, "I tried really hard to follow ALL the rules. I only missed one rule. I didn't hear the recess bell to come back inside, but when I saw everybody else going in I went in, too." Very sweet. I know he tries to be a really good boy at school, and I'm sure he is! Gah! I can't believe he's this old!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last Words

My writing group has started back up again (hurray!), so below is the latest piece I turned in, inspired by a moment I had with Juliette recently.



That let-out-a-sigh feeling when the evening bedtime drill is done--- pajamas, teeth, scriptures, prayers, stories… water cups all around. When the little ones are all finally tucked into bed, the first thing I usually do is grab a bowl of cold cereal and then unwind at my computer for a bit.

But this night was different. I knew that although everyone was situated for the night, my job wasn’t done. My three-and-a-half-year-old, Juliette, was weepy. She, the sunshine in our home, was carrying a dark cloud and wasn’t her happy self. It seemed like everything was irritating her, so I got under her blankets, put my head on her pillow, looked into her deep blue eyes and tried to talk to her about happy things.

Normally at about this time, she’d be shamelessly poking her head in and out of my room, waiting for me to spot that she wasn’t in her bed. When I'd notice, I’d call her name in a sing-song way.

“Jul-i-e-ette… go to be-ed.”

She’d grin and run to my side at the call.

“Good night, Mommy,” she’d say quickly, as she reached up for another kiss. And then she’d plant a second kiss on my pregnant belly and say, “Good night, Charwee; I love you, Charwee.”  With that, off she’d run to bed. It’d become an unofficial and ever-so-cute part of our nightly routine.

But, like I said, none of that was happening on this particular evening. 

As we talked in her bed, I was glad to see her smile start to resurface as she began asking the usual questions about the baby in my belly.

“Is Charwee kicking you, Mama?”

“Is Charwee sweeping, Mama?”

“When baby Charwee come out?” 

It’s hard to explain to a three-year-old about when the baby is coming out, but I always try anyway.

Tonight she beat me to the answer. “Six more weeks!”

“Actually, I think it’s five more weeks now,” I said, as I stroked her beautiful blonde hair out of her face and once again admired her eyes that were still a little wet. I love her eyes.

With both a little sadness and a little happiness she said, “Charwee can have my baby’s bottles (the ones she uses for her dolls). I don’t need them anymore.”

I went on to tell her that he might not like the bottles.

“All of my babies have only wanted booby milk,” I explained. “… Isabella would only drink booby milk; Liam would only drink booby milk, and Juju would only drink booby milk!”

All that booby talk made her laugh like I had hoped. It made me laugh, too, and reminded me of the funny incident the other day when she’d gone around telling people she had six boobies (owies). Boobies and owies are interchangeable in her head—same word, but very different meanings.

“I still have so much to do to get ready for Charlie,” I continued. “I still need to wash his clothes, buy him diapers, set up the pack ‘n’ play…”

“And swimming diapers!” she reminded me.

“Yes, I need to buy him swimming diapers.”

“Nooo, mommy!” (She was giggling now!) He can have my swimming diapers, sillwee goose.”

“Oh, that’s right! He can have your swimming diapers since you’re a big girl and don’t need them anymore. That is so, so sweet of you.”

Her smile disappeared and elephant tears resurfaced.

Crying, she slowly and almost defensively said, “I’m not a big girl; I’m a little girl now… Juju’s not a baby anymore.”

I suddenly realized that as much as I’d been enjoying the fact that she’s old enough to be excited about the baby coming, she was also old enough to understand that very soon she wasn’t going to be the baby in our home anymore. And she was deeply sad. I felt my eyes well up. She knew it was almost over.

“I don’t want my big girl pwincess bed,” she went on. “Take it down. Charwee has my cwib. You buy me a new cwib.”

I completely lost it. Our foreheads touching, the tears streaming down both our faces, I knew I was just as sad to say goodbye to baby Juliette as she was. She wiped my tears; I wiped hers.

Sobbing, I held her cheeks, forced down the knot in my throat enough to whisper to her that she would always be my baby.

Always, always. I love you so much, Juliette.” I told her.

“Please stop crying, Mommy,” she pleaded as she began to cry harder.

I took a deep breath, wiped my tears, smiled big and said, “Look, I’m happy.”

I told her that I didn’t like it when she was sad, either.

We both smiled bravely for each other as we continued to lock our eyes together to be sure we were both okay.

And because I once had to say goodbye to baby Isabella and baby Liam, I do know everything will be okay, and that it is natural to feel a little sad as family dynamics change. I know the new baby will bring us indescribable joy, and I honestly can’t wait to hold him. But it still hurts to say goodbye to an era. With both Liam and Isabella, the sorrow hit me hardest as I headed for the hospital to have the new baby, driving away from them, knowing that when I returned things would never be the same. They both had no clue what was coming. With Juliette it happened a little differently and sooner. And I think it hurt a little more because she understands. 

And so my last words to each of my babies is that the beautiful thing about a mother's love for her children is that it’s forever. Whatever the time, no matter the place, it’s always. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Goodbye, Friends.

As a mom, I find great joy in watching my kids make good friends. I remember my very first friends as a child--Summer Rief and Sarah Folsom, and I know I will always remember my kids' very first really good friends. To make a dear friend is the sweetest thing! So, yes, it was quite a bummer to say goodbye to  the Browns. Liam and Aaron were best buds and have had quite a few playdates together over the last few years.

One of the most memorable was when they decided it would be fun to barricade the girls out of Liam's room. I should've known to check on them. I just figured they were quietly playing Legos like they normally do. But no, not this time. I was absolutely stunned when I discovered they'd taken every toy, bin, box, item of clothing,--you name it--, out and put it in front of their door. They even took off all of Liam's bedding! Honestly, at first I couldn't even get the door open. I stood in the hallway for quite awhile coaxing them to move enough stuff away from the door so that I could at least get in! It literally took Liam and me hours to get the room put back together. Surprisingly, though, this is both a fond and funny memory for me! Boys will be boys!

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Juliette and Aaron's little sister, Emma, also became quite good friends. Here's a few shots of the girls enjoying one last playdate right before the Browns moved. Sad, sad!

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And, of course, I'm missing their mom, Courtney, who was my friend! :( Such is life, though, and we're really happy that they are able to live closer to their family in UT. But know that we miss you, Brownies!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Party Like a Rockstar!

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We've switched to an every-other-year-you-can-have-a-friend-party policy, and this was Isabella's year to party! As usual, a lot of thought and deliberation went into what kind of party she wanted, and she finally settled on a rockstar theme. I thought that would be easy enough, but the prep turned out to be a tad more stressful than I anticipated (read: procrastinator), but that's okay! That's just the way I roll when it comes to parties, I've decided.

We made some fun homemade invitations together, and she had a ball delivering them. She was so thrilled when everyone on her party list was able to come, and boy did her girlfriends arrive looking fabulous! It was so fun to see each one of them walk through the door. I felt a little bad that my own girl wasn't a little more decked out, but she didn't seem to mind! The day before the party I ran to Target to try and find something rockstar-ish for her to wear, but unfortunately she wasn't with me, and didn't like what I brought home one bit. (My baby's all grown up with STRONG fashion opinions of her own!) Luckily, she remembered a sparkly/shimmery dress she had in her closet and was happy to wear that.

And it was really cute when a few of her friends knocked on our door a few hours before the party with some pink and blue washable hair dye. We sprayed some of that in her hair and called it good. I had expected to do the girls' hair as one of the activities for the party, but they came with some pretty rockin' hair, so there was no need for that! I did have fun braiding some sparkly string into each girl's hair, though, and they seemed to love, love it. Girls are so fun!

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Karaoke was another activity on the agenda, and I actually tried to start out with that, but everyone was feeling much too bashful. I should've waited until the end of the party--maybe they would have went for it after they'd warmed up to one another a little more. Instead we hit the nail polish. Some girls wanted help, others didn't. They seemed to have a good time with that.

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While Rise and I braided hair, the rest of the party went outside to play until it was their turn. Will took the camera and supervised the outside play, and was really impressed with one party guest, Savannah, who organized a bunch of games for the girls to play on the tramp. Thank you, Savannah!

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Next we had a little dance party. I had each girl pick a dance move, and then we strung them all together and probably practiced it 3 or 4 times and then recorded it. Here's the recording.

 

I'm pretty sure I made a fool out of myself, but it was so fun to dance with them! That was probably my favorite part of the party!

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Lastly, the pinata! Isabella started everyone out, and we actually got through all the girls and then back to Bella when it finally busted open. CANDY! It never disappoints.

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We topped the party off with some singing, cake-eating and presents. When everyone left, I was a little worried about whether they had a good time or not, but I'm comforted as I look through these pictures. I think everyone had a great time! I know my girl did. Happy Birthday, Rockstar!

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Isabella's 8th Birthday: Family Dinner

It's definitely hard to believe my baby is eight! Such a special birthday. She is now old enough to be baptized! We are really looking forward to her baptism, which will take place around Christmas time when all of my family from Germany will be in town. We're also planning to bless baby #4 that same day (still can't believe we'll have a new baby soon!). What a memorable Christmas it will be!

But on to this sweet girl of ours! I'm so proud of her, and couldn't love her more! I've noticed so much maturity in her over this last summer. She's always quick to say "yes, mommy!" when I ask her to do things. (Well, most of the time!) She loves to read, do arts and crafts, plan parties, ride her bike, learn about science, eat sweets, go berry picking. She simply ADORES being with her friends and is lucky to have so many. She is definitely a social butterfly, and I think that of the things I just listed, she probably loves being with her friends the most!

She also has a huge interest in learning about the gospel, and I love how attentive she is when we read the Book of Mormon as a family each night. Seems like she's always getting the answers to our questions right! She is a chatterbox and loves to talk and tell me all kinds of things. I need to work on being a better listener. I love that I have a girl that likes to tell me everything!

She felt extremely loved on her birthday. Her Aunt Tina took her out to lunch. She chose McDonalds and had a great time! She was really excited to get some girl Legos from Aunt Tina, too. She's been wanting some of those! Tina was sweet enough to play Legos with the kids for a few hours that afternoon while I finished getting ready for the dinner festivities later that night.

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Right before the birthday dinner, Grandma Rise picked her up and took her shopping at Walmart. I know she had a ball picking out a few birthday gifts with her sweet Grandma.

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She got home from her shopping date right before all of her lovely guests arrived. It was especially fun to have Uncle Michael and Aunt Jessica with us from out of town. We've got amazing family who made her feel so loved that evening, as always.

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Will and I got her a beach cruiser this year. I love that she's into that sort of thing. Her Aunt Lissie recently got one, and ever since she's had her heart set on one too. She chose pink, and now I want one (probably not pink, though :)) ! I'm excited to take her eight-year-old portraits with it! :)
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All day long she had hoped to open a big package from Grandma Lisa and Grandpa Tracy in Germany, but it just didn't work out. We wanted her to open it over Skype, but with the time change and all that she had going on that day, the stars didn't align. You better believe it was the first thing she wanted to do when she woke up the next morning. The package was filled to the brim with books from my childhood, a new dress (which she wears multiple times a week) and an adorable purse. So fun!

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Lastly, I wanted to mention that Will camped with the kids in the backyard on her birthday eve, hence the tent in some of these pictures. Such a sweet dad! She's been asking to camp in the backyard all summer!

I really think she had a wonderful day. She deserves it. Such an angel she is. Happy birthday, my love!

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