Friday, February 21, 2014

Better late than never

Summer has apparently been running on Mormon standard time. But thankfully the days are finally staying consistently warm, the cicadas are playing their familiar summer tune, we are sleeping with windows open and for the first time the kids were dying to get wet. Not just tolerate the water, but welcome it with open arms. It's amazing how hot 87 degrees can feel, I had sweat trickling down my forehead as I cooked over the hot stove and with no air conditioning it was a sticky sleepless night. But I didn't mind too much, I was born for days like this.  I'm starting to appreciate the rain more, it means I don't have to water the garden and it's a good excuse to not have to go running or do laundry. I especially love falling asleep to a good rainstorm. But this right here is the good stuff. And please take a moment to admire my tomatoes in the background. It's a good thing Jayden threw a football through one of those glass tiles so that my magic beanstalk could have a place to grow. Man, my thumb sure is green.

I really wanted to pack up the kids and take them to the beach as soon as they walked in the door from school but Jayden had a rugby game that evening. Considering that the cold weather forced me to spend 8/9 of the past games watching from the front seat of the car as the boys scavanged through the seats looking for stale fruit snacks, I didn't mind the chance to watch that cute boy play out in the sunshine. Jason met us after work and I must say, I really like having that guy around more often, fatherhood looks good on him.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Be mine

A year ago Jason and I were enjoying a romantic snowboarding weekend in Park City. As the snow froze me to my core I was mentally preparing myself to face the harsh winters in Sweden. Instead of stocking up at the outlets on shorts and t-shirts for an Arizona summer, we ransacked the sweater racks (still wishing I hadn't passed on that beautiful red wool coat) gearing up for a European winter. On our last run down I remember thinking to myself, the next time we ride we'll be on the Swiss Alps.  And a year later fate and faith finds us smack dab in the middle of one giant sheep pasture eating pavlova and referring to our swimsuits as togs. Life is just plain bananas sometimes. So Valentine's day...once again I'm realizing just how big of a deal holidays are in the states and just how not a big deal they are here. I miss the aisles of heart shaped candy, I miss Old Navy's entire line dedicated to Valentine's day clothing, I miss pinning homemade valentines to my pin board then buying a generic box of spongebob cards at the last minute, I miss hating staying up all night making valentine's boxes, I miss the class parties, I miss the heart shaped french braids and all the moms trying to one up each other and all the stores trying to milk out every last dollar. I really truly miss it all. But we still managed to make the day special. In a way it's sorta fun to create a holiday from scratch here.  We were still able to pull off our pink hot chocolate after experimenting with a few ingredients that weren't available, and at the going rate of $1/strawberry I had to get creative with our strawberry crepe breakfast. But change can be oooooh soooo goooood.

Whoever said "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" obviously never tasted these.

They thought I had forgotten to heart attack their doors so they were excited to wake up in the morning and see it. Carrying on the same traditions makes it seem like we're not so far from home.

I always have a small gift waiting on their breakfast plate. They played with these wooden swords for three days straight, which is about 2 1/2 days longer than any other dollar store gift. And Kylie has only been wanting hair chalk for, oh, say...the past 3 years. For some reason hair chalk has never managed to make it's way onto my shopping list. So she was thrilled.

We had to rush out the door to make it to the school assembly where Maddox's class was presenting. They did such a great job and the video clips they shared were just adorable. The second one is my favorite. And just when I think school has gone and robbed me of my sweet Maddox, he goes and rearranges the toothbrushes so that ours can be together. He's still mine after all. Ryder was so excited it was raining so that he could wear his boots. Who am I kidding, he wears those boots everywhere regardless of rain. At least now it's acceptable. (and please note the sunny skies after school in the pictures above, this weather I tell you...)

I was pleasantly surprised when Jayden and Maddox both received an award. Clearly they were both thrilled.

Instead of attending class parties, Ryder and I decided to spread the love one sugar cookie at a time. What can I say, food (particularly sugar) is my love language. We delivered them to Jason at work, friends, neighbors, teachers, the principal and front office staff because quite frankly they are all such gems. They don't have cookies like these here and I'm so glad I could open their eyes to the caloric bliss known as frosted sugar cookies.

cutest sous chef this side of the Milky Way

We carried on with our fondue dinner tradition. Only this time I finally found a cheese recipe that was edible and Jason was actually home in time to enjoy it. This was my favorite Valentine's dinners yet.

Kylie turned the roses into a science experiment. A pretty science experiment. It's so nice having a garden that grows more than just cactus.

Kylie and Maddox were so sweet to heart attack our room the night before and they all wrote us cute little Valentine's notes the day of. I also kept finding bits of chocolate on my pillow that Maddox was so kind to surprise me with. After about the third chocolate he snuck on there he finally came to me and said, "geeze, we keep doing all these surprises for you and all you did for us is give us one little present?!" For doing nothing absolutely all day I sure was exhausted by the end.

Valentine's day has evolved from a romantic holiday to a family holiday and having the air under our roof thick with love for each other is the way it should be.  But Jason and I always make a point to sneak away during the weekend for a little romance too.  We went out for Chinese food then strolled around the botanical gardens at Hagley park admiring nature's handiwork, catching an open air performance of some sorts and talking about how good life has been to us. It truly has. So grateful for my Valentine and all our little cupids. Honest to goodness, they make my life completely rad.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just beachy

I picked up a summer events booklet a few months ago and ear marked all the cool things we were going to do. The movie in the park got rained out, we were out of town for the kite festival, the family fun runs,well...I don't think that was ever really on the table. But I'm so glad the sand castle building contest was in the cards for today. We had a stake BBQ (not to be confused with a steak BBQ, no everything here is a sausage sizzle) in the morning then caught the tail end of this event.  Jason dropped us off then went to find parking and as we walked onto the beach all we could see were hundreds of kids building sandcastles. Oh crap, I frantically texted Jason to tell him never mind it was just a bunch of amateurs and totally not worth the parking money. So glad we ventured a little farther down and found the sand castle mecca. We strolled around, picked our favorites, tried to be discreet as Ryder peed in the grass (#talesofpottytraining), watched Maddox use seashells in lieu of buckets to build miniature sand castles, wished we hadn't listened to the forcast for rain and brought our swimsuits, ate ice cream (and legend has it that I had almost as much ice cream on my face as Ryder), walked along the pier reminiscing about the last time we walked the pier then called it a day. Zipping to the beach for a few hours on a Saturday just never gets old.

So weird to see so many people on the beach. And all this time I thought the beaches only belonged to us...

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The end of an era

I can't believe I can buy a real purse now. Or dare I say even a clutch? One that doesn't have to accomodate for diapers, wipes, sippy cups, 4 toy cars and a bag of crackers. Potty training my last baby feels so liberating. But even though I don't think I'll miss changing a poopy diaper on my lap in the car, or carrying a dirty diaper in my bag until I can find a trash can and then forgetting that it's in there until the next day, I know there's so much I am going to miss about closing the baby door for good. It kind of gives me anxiety just saying that, because babies is all I've known and what am I doing to do five years from now when my arms ache to hold a newborn?  For now I am just focusing on the positives, there is so much to love about this stage and so much to look forward to in the future as we are on the verge of emerging out of the crazy circus sideshow phase and easing into the normal family in public phase. While I'm not ready for Ryder to outgrow our whispered talks about bear hunts with his little face inches away from mine and eyes wide open, or the way he calls all his clothes dresses, or the way he wants to dress like a "me-jago" (ninjago) every day, or the way he changes his clothes at least 3 times a day if it's not me-jago-ish enough for him, or the way he loves "by-you" (BYU), or the way he says "wu you" (love you) and gives me the cutest tight lipped kisses with just the perfect amount of smack, or the way he rubs his blankie tag across my cheek as a sign of love, or the way he cries that he has no hair when I comb Maddox's hair, or the way he does ninjago kicks down the aisle at church, or the way he is obsessed with fireman sam, cars, trucks, trains and milk, or how he can't go anywhere without his clip clops (flip flops) on, or all of his little phrases like "I can't seed (see)", or "I want morn (more)", or the way he says "huh?" and makes you repeat a question at least 5 times, or the way he can't go to sleep without me singing "hush little baby".  Yes, those are the things I hope he's not in too much of a rush to outgrow. But I'm proud of the little person he is growing into, not to mention he is a bit of a child potty training prodigy, if I do say so myself. Minus one pair of highly coveted spiderman undies that ended up in the garbage, he has kept his pants completely dry. Even in public. For being my wild card, he sure has taken the potty training scene by storm. The wide array of undies to choose from and the bags of suckers helped just a little. Now pardon me, I've got the cutest little chubby bum to go and pinch. Because really, two year old bums in tighty whities are a mama's kryptonite.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

New beginnings

Summer came and went with the flash of my camera. Although you can never have too many long warm days at the beach, I feel like we made the most of each day and the start of the new school year with it's sharpened pencils, freshly pressed uniforms and early bedtimes can be a welcomed change. And the start of intermediate school for Kylie is an exciting change. She is already shaving her legs, borrowing my shoes, wearing my clothes and getting her first cell phone (granted Jason and I are the only ones on her contact list), so I guess it's time.  I'm glad these boys still have each other so that Jayden can look out for Maddox on the playground and Maddox can annoy Jayden and his friends during lunch. They take their brotherly duties very seriously.

They said I was only allowed to take one picture, and they weren't kidding. I tried to sneak in one more but they're men of their word...

And what's more embarrassing than mom taking your picture at school? Dad trying to hold your hand.

Maddox said he would never be too embarrassed to hold my hand and proved his point right there on the spot.

Catching up with some old friends in the cloak room. This girl couldn't believe Jayden hadn't noticed her haircut. Get used to it, boy....

Holding hands is a no-no, but he'll let a high five or a fist bump slide.

I thought he would have a hard time when we left, but he found his mates and didn't even look back. Not once. That makes me happy and breaks my heart right in half at the same time.  He always comes home so exhausted and grumpy at the end of school, I feel like I've lost my sweet boy since he started. It's not fair that school gets the best part of him.

And it seems as though Kylie's school was using Dorothy as their fashion inspiration when designing their line of uniforms. She's not too thrilled about them, but I think she looks adorable. Just you wait until the wool kilts are unveiled in the winter, though, they're a doozy. The first day was just a meet the teacher day and Kylie's teacher is so great.  She also found out that a girl from our ward is in her class and that helped her first day nerves melt away. She was able to come home after that and we spent some one on one time together (well, one and a half on one if you count Ryder). We got frozen yogurt then walked around the mall discussing the disturbing rat tail haircut trend and spending money on useless things, unless you count Ryder's $7 yellow rainboots that match mine, because really I must. Her first real day of school was great, the whole afternoon they had a pool party so what's not to love?

Everyone seems to be enjoying their first week of school and I'm enjoying a quieter, cleaner house, getting back on a schedule and loving on Ryder before he abandons me for kindy in four months. Sigh. We did get a holiday during the first week of school, Waitangi Day, so quite naturally we explored a new beach. It was blue skies but 65 degrees so while all the kiwis splashed carelessly in the water we sat like bumps on a log with our hoodies zipped tight. Jayden did get brave enough and swam out to jump off the dock a few times. Life is downright good these days.