Thursday, May 7, 2015

We Are Moving...Again!

Last August we found ourselves relocating to another city and state as a result of Travis accepting another position within the company.  We have always wanted to live in this city and we are truly happy here.  And while our nomadic history has certainly taught us to never say never, we would love to stay here and "settle down," so to speak.  After an exhausting real estate search, we decided that building a home would be the best way to accommodate our unique family.  We broke ground in October and we have been eagerly watching the progress.  Finally, moving day/week is upon us! 
Back in August, I blogged about writing a Social Story  for Josie to help her anticipate and understand our impending move.  Her adjustment to our new surroundings was remarkably smooth, and while I'm not sure that can be attributed to the Social Story I drafted, it couldn't have hurt.  So I decided to do it again for our move into our new home:
Photos of the exterior have been altered/obscured to protect our privacy as part of our internet safety measures. 

Merryn told Josie's speech therapist that our dog is not coming with us because she's not pictured on this page; minor oversight of a sleep deprived mother.  The dog will, indeed, be joining us.

This is the part of the book where Josie busts out her signature sass and echoes "Independently?  NO!"

Everybody now: "Independently?  NO!"
I apologize but it appears as though I failed to save the file properly so I lost a few pages.  No worries - I took photos of my hard copy to share.  My IT guru husband would be mortified!  Lets just keep this between us, Mmmmk?  Thanks!

A few pages were omitted because they contain photographs of a top secret surprise in the new house to be revealed soon!  No, it's not another BALL PIT, but there's still time to talk Travis into recreating that brilliant work of art!  The new surprise is pretty cool so stay tuned.  Talk to you soon, Friends!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Photo Shoot

Good Lord Almighty how can you guys be smiling when those creepy iridescent spheres are flying at us?!  HELP! 

Really, Mom?  We're doing this again?

Somebody save me from this torture! 

Mom, we've gone over this time and again.  The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Does that ring a bell?!

 If my eye rolling is this good now, imagine how impressive it will be when I'm a teenager!
It's about as much fun as watching grass grow.

No caption needed

Friday, April 17, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

Five Minutes Underwater

I used to give my parents a lot of grief about how there are 8 million baby pictures of Leanne and about a half a dozen of me...and she's in all of them.
Can we just take a minute a marvel at that burnt orange, crushed velvet sofa?  Folks, there are times when furniture crosses the realm of pure function and it becomes art.  You're witnessing it, my friends.  It really should be preserved in a museum somewhere...
I was determined not to let that happen with my kids.  Hence, I started a separate blog devoted entirely to Merryn.  I wanted to fill it with all of her vital stats - you know - just in case she someday asks me what her head circumference was at her 9 month check-up (Above average.  WAY above average.  I have the C-Section scar to prove it.  You can thank your dad for that, Kiddo).  I was going to impart all this valuable wisdom upon her; a toolbox to help her navigate her teenage years that spans beyond Noxzema and whatever dreadful teen soap the CW is airing in the future. (Do they even make Noxzema anymore??  I'm totally dating myself.)
Merryn's blog was last updated on November 15, 2013!!!
And Lydia?  LOL!  Let's not even talk about the little circle of the world wide web devoted entirely to her.  Because it doesn't exist.  Heck, CCE barely exists.  You probably had to wipe a layer of dust off your screen after clicking on our URL so the text would be legible.
So, I apologize Mom and Dad.  I get it.  I totally get it.  It doesn't mean you love me any less.  You just got busy. 
The other day Travis came home from work and I told him that I had planned a trip to Costco for the family because we were in desperate need of a diapers and Pediasure and we could just feed the kids at the snack bar and spare the dinner mess.  I just needed one minute to upload some pictures off my camera and hang some clean laundry in the girls' closet. 
Within 5 minutes he was asking me "Are you ready?  How much longer?  We need to get going..."
"Can't you see that this place is a disaster and I still need to load the dishwasher, feed the baby, sort the mail, and unpack the 12M clothes before we can go?!"
Travis said "By the time you do all that, it will be the kids' bedtime.  Can't you just do that stuff when we get home?"
 "You know what?" I snapped, "Forget it!  You just go to Costco by yourself!  The list is on the counter!"
He looked a little startled and he lowered his voice and hesitantly asked "Are you sure you don't want to go?"
"Of course I want to go!" I bellowed, "All day, every day, I'm trapped in this tiny condo with an endless supply of domestic drudgery to tend to and all I want is to get out of the house even if it is just a trip to Costco to buy some stupid diapers!"
"So you DO want to go?"
"Didn't you hear what I just said?!  I can't possibly go!"
At this point, Travis sighed, hung his head and walked out of the room in defeat.  The sleep deprivation/PMS/stress bomb is one not even Travis can dismantle.


That's why when I friend sent me a link to an article (click HERE) about motherhood by Jen Hatmaker, it totally hit home with me.  I'll admit I didn't know who Jen Hatmaker was but apparently she's kind of a big deal.  I understand her popularity may have something to do with Facebook.  I wouldn't know.  I don't have a Facebook page.  I don't have time for Facebook.  I don't have time for TV.  Basically, I live under a rock.  I'm oblivious to a lot of current news, pop culture trends, and the like.  Why?  Well, Jen Hatmaker describes it well when she says:
The baby years are short, kind of like five minutes…underwater.
Yes!  That describes my life beautifully!  So much about this article resonates with me: Former perspicacious business professional with a college degree turned stay-at-home mom with three kids in four years and a compromised acuity?  Yep!  That's ME!


And every day feels kind of like Groundhog Day; prepare meals, change diapers, drive to preschool, load the dishwasher, unload the dishwasher, kiss boo boo's, pick up toys, do laundry and more of the same.


And even though my life is quite monotonous, it's not boring.  I don't even remember what it feels like to be bored!  I've got an endless supply of things to do.  And the majority of them are not remotely fun.

Travis and I reminisce "Remember before we had kids and we could do whatever we wanted?"  "Remember when the only person whose food you had to cut was your own?" "Remember when you slept past 7:00am?" "Remember when the house was clean?  Always?"  Yeah, those were the days...
But what Ms. Hatmaker so poignantly points out in the article is that my monotonous days of motherhood are filled with moments that make life worth living.  Sure, Lydia is the clingiest baby who won't even let me go to the bathroom without clutching my leg...but at night when she buries her sleepy little head in my neck and I inhale that beautiful baby scent, I am so grateful to have her in my arms.  And that smile?  I melt!
  Sure, Merryn is a challenging, argumentative, strong-willed, and dramatic "threenager," but she tells me I'm her best friend (unless I won't let her have the iPad) and she is an invaluable helper when it comes to her sisters.  Every day that child says something that makes me laugh and she never ceases to amaze me with her intelligence and kindness. 
Then there's Josie - or "Sassafras" as her para calls her.  Oh that child can be stubborn and defiant and all of the physical help she requires makes my back feel twice its age.  But she is full of affection; she lives to give hugs.  And after each embrace she sweetly says "Thank you for the love."  Literally.  She says that.  To me.  I'm her mom!  She doesn't need to thank me for loving her; it's the most natural inclination in the world.  But she does.

Then Ms. Hatmaker goes on to talk about how these little sanity-stealing, free time-eroding, house-destroying munchkins grow up.  Quickly.
...and thank God that you got to parent this kid, that he was yours, that he walked into your arms at one and will walk out of them at eighteen, but my gosh…what a gift.
I would strongly encourage you to read this article.  But don't do it if you have someplace to go and you don't want to cry off your makeup.  Because it will yank on your heartstrings.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  And on the hardest of days, it will remind you that you're not alone and it's totally, definitely, undeniably, completely, 100% worth it.

* This post is dedicated to all of our blog and Instagram followers who have left comments and emailed me letting me know how you appreciate us sharing our story.  We're humbled by your support.  Thanks for following along on our journey. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Just a quick note to wish all of our readers a Happy Easter!  We'll be back soon!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Josie Turns 5!

500 Followers?!  Wow!  You guys are the best!  We never imagined when we started our little family blog that we would get so much support and positive feedback from folks all around the world!  Your timing couldn't be better either; you know why?  We just celebrated Josie JoJo's 5th birthday! 
 Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne joined us to celebrate this joyous occasion! 
 Aunt Leanne jumped right back into doing her aunt thing.  She dressed the kids for bed and read the bedtime story.
 I don't know what's happening in this photo but it looks intense and it makes me laugh so I included it!
 After we got the kids in bed, Travis, Leanne, and I went out on the town and we bonded over a little karaoke!  Leanne offered up the BEST performance of the night and she got the crowd rockin 'to "Cel-a-brate good times, Come on!"  For video footage, click here:
 On Saturday morning we set out for the noisy, chaotic, kid-infested abyss that is Chuck E Cheese.  It's amazing how different the experience is for kids versus parents.  They should really hand you ear plugs and a flask when you enter the premises. 
 Ah but the children love it so us grown ups happily endured two action-packed hours of running, climbing, shrieking, crying, fun.  My head is still spinning.
 So we played the games and earned the tickets...
 ...everyone except the birthday girl.  She could care less about the games and tickets.  Do you know why she asks to go to Chuck E Cheese at least once a day?
 You got it!  Enormous singing animals jamming out to today's pop tunes like Josie's personal favorite, "Shake it off".
 Yeah why get yourself tangled up in the noisy herds of hyper children clamoring for tokens and fighting over games when you can just get comfortable on the floor and dance until your heart is content?
 After we'd had our fill of pizza and pandemonium, we headed up the road to show Mama Hop and Aunt Leanne the progress on our new home!
 Unfortunately, it was prepped for painting so every surface was covered in plastic and it reeked of varnish from the staining process on the fireplace and stairs.  It wasn't the best tour but they got the feel for the layout...along with a fume-induced headache.
 The move in date is just over six weeks away and we can't wait!
 After a little afternoon rest, we got down to the ever-important birthday business of cake and presents!
 Oh and in case you were wondering, Josie is perfectly capable of feeding herself...unless her Aunt Leanne is sitting next to her.
 After the birthday girl was serenaded, musical gifts were opened, and cake was consumed, we took a step back and reflected on the last 5 years; five incredible years with this smart and sassy little girl who has illuminated our days with her smile.  We feel so fortunate to get to be her family.
Happy Birthday Josie!  We love you!