Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Black & White Photo Shoot

Since becoming parents of three, the "divide and conquer" approach has been the only way Travis and I can survive.  Take, for example, errands:  Travis was sent on an errand to Old Navy to purchase some knit shorts for the girls.  He had been carefully coached on what to look for and armed with a photo of the shirts he was supposed to be finding coordinates for.  Upon arrival, he became a little confused so he Facetimes me (a relatively common occurrence when he's out of his element and needs guidance).  These adorable black and white outfits catch my eye, and even though it wasn't what he was sent to purchase, I tell him to pick those up, too. 
 
Yesterday was an unseasonably hot day here in the Tundra so I figured these black and white outfits would be the perfect choice to keep the girls cool and comfortable.  Oddly enough, we didn't have any appointments until the afternoon so I decided to throw up a white sheet and photograph my sweet girls in their matching ensembles. 
 
Now I know what you're thinking - the little voice in the back of my head that was telling me the same thing: I should know better by now.  I should learn to manage my expectations.  This is never going to work.
 
Yes, you're absolutely correct.  But when I see my babies looking so adorable in their coordinating outfits, I tend to ignore my voice of reason and cling to the hope that today just may be the day that a miracle occurs...
 Merryn immediately launched into "Mother Hen" mode and began bossing and posing her sisters.
 For a split second, there was a glimmer of hope that I may have had a chance at a successful photo shoot when Josie and Merryn both leaned in to kiss Baby Lydia at the same time...but Baby Lydia wasn't having it.  No siree, she was NOT amused. 
 Oh well, if Baby Lydia doesn't want a kiss, Josie will go ahead and kiss her own feet.  Meanwhile, Merryn appears to be losing steam and I suspect what happened next involved her leaning back and...
 
Disclaimer: No children were injured in the taking of this photo
 Yes, I pressed the button on the camera one more time before rushing to help them.  I'm a good mother like that. 
 And that's about when we decided to call it a day.
 
But we got a few good photos out of it.  Like this one:
Guess how I got her to smile: I asked her about her "boyfriend".  Oh yes - it worked like a charm!
Look at those faces! 
Totally worth it! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aunt Leanne and the Food Service Etiquette Violation

Aunt Leanne is no stranger to hard work.  She's held jobs in various environments including an office, daycare, and in a sheltered workshop.  Along the way, she's learned a thing or two about professionalism.  If you'd like to read her tips, click HERE.  And just like the rest of us, Leanne continues to conquer new challenges, acquire new skills, and make a few mistakes that serve as valuable learning opportunities.
 
She recently began a job at a cafĂ© within a corporate office building where she gets to work on a variety of tasks including food preparation, wiping tables, sweeping floors, and working the cash register. She loves the opportunity to get out in the community and mingle with customers.  No doubt her charm and charisma make her a favorite among those customers.  And it's a good thing she's got that winning smile to fall back on when she oversteps professional boundaries...by shaking the tip jar in the air and telling customers "Don't forget to tip!"
 
Another valuable learning experience for Leanne - yes, the tip jar is there are customers are welcome to tip, but we mustn't verbally mandate that each customer do so.  Another valuable pointer to add to "Leanne's Guide to Professionalism in the Workforce".
Which calls to mind another time Leanne shamelessly solicited a tip...well, you can't blame a girl for trying. 
 
Oh but what she lacks in food service etiquette she compensates for in sheer likeability and cuteness.  Come on - have you ever seen anyone look this good in a hair net?! 
 
Mind your manners and keep up the good work, Leanne!  You make us proud!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

One of Those Days

It had just been one of those days.  You know, one of THOSE days...the kind of day that follows a sleepless night - status quo for the mom of a 6 week old who was an insomniac even before the baby-induced sleep deprivation...the kind of day that includes, but is not limited to:
  • bed wetting
  • toddler 'tude
  • an allergy-ridden tot with her hair plastered to her cheeks by snot which requires a bath
  • an epic blowout in the bouncy seat that mandates a bath and an additional load of laundry on top of the remaining...
  • 3 loads of laundry
  • speech therapy
  • physical therapy
  • technical problems that prevent access to the spreadsheet that holds the contact information for intended birth announcement recipients
  • more toddler 'tude that really makes you think that Aunt Leanne had a point when she asked why we bother letting Thelma out of time out when she will inevitably need to go back in there.  Just leave her in there.  Duh! 
  • a chorus of three children crying at once
  • plate/cup throwing during meals
  • an attempt to write a grant during nap time (don't ask)
  • an incredibly stressful albeit appreciated Skype session with Josie's behavioral psychologist to help us work through the aforementioned oppositional behavior at mealtime
  • the discovery of dry erase marker all over the walls of the playroom thanks to a naughty almost-three-year-old graffiti artist. 

It was the kind of day that made me miss my mom.  For five weeks my mom put her life on hold and temporarily relocated more than 700 miles away to help me recover from my C-section while easing into life as a mother of three.  For five weeks my mom dealt with days filled with the aforementioned challenges and she still woke up eager to do it again the next day.  For five weeks my mom did my job and I never once saw her dissolve into a hormonal, blubbering mess.  In fact, she managed to extract the humor from scenarios involving the unruly graffiti artist and the wake of destruction she left behind.  She saws the therapists' visits as an opportunity to help Josie acquire new skills while celebrating small victories; not as one more obligation on top of an already hectic schedule. 
She even commented that it's too bad that my dad didn't live to experience this because this is truly her favorite season of life.  And I love that about her.  When I'm having an impossibly overwhelming day, I share my struggles with her and she helps me filter them through the heart of a mother who has survived all of this and more, and who is left with wisdom, a sense of humor, and an appreciation for how valuable and fleeting these years are.
Who knows?  Maybe part of her infallibly positive outlook comes from the intense satisfaction she gets from seeing me earn my gray hairs in the same manner that I made her earn hers.  Goodness knows I will have a hard time wiping the Cheshire cat grin off my face the day Merryn gives birth to a "Thelma" of her own. 
 
All joking aside, I hope Mama Hop will accept this meager blog post as a small token of my enormous appreciation for all that she did to help me this summer.  My appreciation grows each time I experience a day that makes me feel like I'm failing miserably in my pursuit of maternal bliss.  And even though I don't always stop and say it, her help is appreciated, her talents are admired, and her absence is felt. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Kind of Photos That Come With the Frame vs. Reality

As soon as we found out that baby #3 would be a girl, my mind started racing with all of the adorable photo opportunities.  Just imagine: three beautiful sisters, perfectly coiffed hair and coordinating ensembles, holding one another in embraces so loving that your heart just melts into a big puddle of sugar and spice and everything nice...
 
Photos like these would adorn the walls of my home and everyone who saw them would wish that they had grown up with sisters because really, what could be sweeter?
I really thought I had the ultimate formula for photographic perfection:
 
three adorable girls  +  a closet that makes you wonder if there's anything left on the shelves at Gymboree  =  the kind of photos that come with the picture frame
 
Then reality hit...





If you were looking for a dream world with glowy photos of beautifully behaved little angels dancing around with smiles so bright it makes you wonder what the heck that mama knows that you don't, well, you've found the wrong blog.  But reality is fun, too!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to earn the title of World's Best Aunt

 Adjusting to being a mother of three has been an wonderful experience and one for which I am abundantly grateful.  However, I'd be lying if I said it was easy.  Amidst the C section recovery, the sleep deprivation, and the never-ending housework, addressing the needs of three little ones has been overwhelming.  Words cannot begin to express my appreciation for the help of my mom and sister. 
 
We call Leanne the "World's Best Aunt" and it's easy to see that she was born for this job!
 While Josie is making great strides in the gross motor category, it is still her biggest area of delay and she needs a lot more physical assistance than most kids her age.  Because I'm not supposed to be lifting more than 10 lbs, Aunt Leanne has been kind enough to hang out here with us during the day to be available when Josie needs help.  But she does so much more than the "heavy lifting". 
Aunt Leanne helps Josie get dressed and use the bathroom.  She encourages Josie to finish her meals.  Aunt Leanne has even devised her own method with the flash cards to help Josie learn her sight words and Josie loves every minute of it!
Leanne is Josie's biggest cheerleader during her therapy sessions.  She observes the techniques used by the therapists and she practices them with Josie later because she knows repetition is the key to skill mastery.
And while Leanne is a fun aunt who loves to sing, dance, and shower Josie in love and affection, she can also be quite the drill sergeant.  Josie's physical therapist would be so proud of Leanne for refusing to carry Josie down the steps.  Instead, she assists her by holding her hands and encouraging her to walk.  She even retrieved the stool and had Josie get into the car independently!  That's an impressive display of skills and abilities, Ladies!
 So how do we express our gratitude to the World's Best Aunt for all that she does to help?  Well, we indulge her gourmet palette with delicacies that are so delightful that that her niece has been nicknamed after them: fish sticks (Catfish with Ketchup).



We also treat her to her favorite beverage at Starbucks: a double chocolaty chip Frappucino:

After exiting the drive thru, we heard a little voice from the back seat yelling "iced coffee...Frappucino...iced Frappucino!"  Teach 'em young, right Leanne?

And we can't forget to ensure Leanne has a fully-stocked supply of her favorite breath freshening products because oral hygiene is of utmost important to Leanne.  And the reason that we can't forget is because she leaves reminder notes:

After all she does for us, the World's Best Brother (in-law - even though this distinction is insignificant to Leanne) wouldn't let her down.
It's the little things in life that bring the biggest smile to Leanne's face!
 
Leanne, thank you for all of your help this month.  You truly are the World's Best Aunt!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Aunt Leanne Blogs: Adventures in Babysitting

hi everbody
aunt leanne
babysit
kids
josie
cafish
ketchup
nickname
pop
mind
that
is
ilove
you
 flased cards
words
say
no
help
from
you
swing
sea
basentment
ssteps
that
it
love eveeboby
meryrran
she
good
for
me
girls
behaive
lay
leg
I
like
her
lydia
peak
boo
good
for
me
smilles
huges
kisses
she
best
baby
 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Well, this just about sums it up...

The result of the obligatory Father's Day photo shoot is an accurate reflection of our life these days - juggling an armload of chaos, laughing through the pandemonium, realizing that as long as we have each other, nothing else matters.  We're figuring it out as we go, drawing on past experience, and not sweating the small stuff.
The only Y-chromosome sporting member of our family deserves a lot of credit for keeping things sane, balanced, and fun!  The qualities he possesses that drew me in and convinced me he would make a wonderful husband, make him an even better father.  We are so blessed to have him in our lives.
 
Happy Father's Day, Travis!  We love you so much!