Thursday, December 8, 2011

Days like this

It's so funny. As parents, we model model model in order to show our children the behavior we desire.  I try so hard to live the life I want my kids to live when they are grown and I am gone.  There has been a lot in the news about bullying lately, and I worry about how this will impact my kids.  I know there will always be mean people, people who just don't care, and people who think they are better than the rest of us.  They are this way because no one ever taught them differently.  In My girl's school, there is a huge anti-bulliyng campaign.  We talk about it often.  They have a program where the teachers catch kids who are being good, and reward them with a ticket.  These tickets are then signed by the kids and put into a drawing for extra game time in the gym at the end of the week(this is a highly coveted activity).  It's an incentive to be extra nice and to do the right thing.  I think the thinking is that eventually the kids will just do the right thing without thinking about it because they have become so accustomed to it.  I like this program because it focuses on the good.  There are many other parts of the program that focus on the bullying part, but for this you need only know that part.  I talk to the girls a lot about how standing by and watching while someone is mistreated is as bad as being the one who is bullying.  I know it's hard to be the one to speak out, but it is so so so important to be the one.
Lilly came home yesterday and told me about her day.  "Mommy, I got a ticket today for helping someone who was having trouble with his reading." so I tell her that I am so glad that she is being a good helper, but that wasn't the end of her story.  "L, this boy in my class has trouble. He has a disability.  He can't focus and can't sit still, and sometimes in music class he sings when we aren't supposed to and gets up and dances around.  He's always getting into trouble.  He never gets a ticket, so I put his name on my ticket so he would have a chance. "  My heart about burst right out of my chest at that point.  I told her how proud I was of her and what an amazing thing she did.  I am so glad that I am getting through to them and that they are doing it, they are being the people who make a difference.  This is an amazing feeling, I am so proud. I have amazing kids.

Friday, November 18, 2011

That was a long break...

Things are moving along nicely here for us. Lots going on, lots of photos I'd love to post, lovely time in life, really.  We are approaching the holidays with a speed I wasn't sure was possible, but here comes Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, in a few short days.  I love it so much because of it's focus.  Giving thanks.  I love that it's about family, blessings, and delicious food.  At least in our house we focus on those things.  Christmas has turned into one of my least favorite holidays.  The time leading up to it is fine, but that day has gotten so far away from what Christmas originally was and has turned into a giant shopping bonanza, that I just really would rather have another Thanksgiving.  Don't get me wrong, I love how excited the kids get, seeing them on Christmas morning, the joy.  All that is great, but all the stress leading up to it?  No thanks.  This year, I decided to get back to the giving and doing for others.  Now, we try to do this on a fairly regular basis in the form of small kindnesses.  My kids get no bigger thrill than when we pay a toll for the person behind us, or when we take care of someone's breakfast tab and slip out the door before they know it's been taken care of. We always talk about what that person must be thinking when they realize what has happened.  Now I know these aren't grand gestures, nothing life altering for the receiver, but I like to think these small acts are life altering for my children.  They had an event at school where they were asked to bring in food for the less fortunate and to stuff an entire bus full.  My girls all left the house with their bags so full that they staggered under the weight, but all insisted on doing so.  There was no talking them down to a lighter load to carry.  They've asked to do the same thing every day this week.  I love that they have this spirit.  So for the month of December, every day leading up to and including Christmas, we will do an intentional act of kindness.  (I am toying with the idea of doing a 365 project and blogging it, but we'll see) This is not giant stuff, but these are things that will make a difference to someone.  I just think about how it would make my day to have someone in the drive thru line pay for my coffee just so I would have a nice day and I want to give that to others. (My secret fantasy is that I would start by paying for one person and then the next person in line, having gotten their coffee paid for then pays for the next person and so on. I know, I'm such a sap) So here is our list of 25 kindnesses in no particular order except for 25. Some are small, some are bigger, all will make a difference to us and hopefully to someone else. With any of the donation of food or supply donations, kids come to the store and choose what they think will help with some guidelines.

1. Make and deliver cards to a local nursing home (as many as each child wants to make)

2. Cook a meal for a neighbor with a busy schedule

3.Bake Christmas cookies for our neighbors (each child picks a neighbor)

4. put together a few bags with handwarmers, socks, granola bars to hand to people on the street asking for money

5.make a food donation to the soup kitchen

6. Make a food donation to the food bank

7. Make a food/supply donation to the animal shelter

8. Donate socks hats and mittens to the teen shelter

9.adopt a family for Christmas gifts

10. Provide a meal to a family in need

11. Donate clothes and toys to kids in foster care

12. Bake treats and deliver to the fire station

13. Bake treats and deliver to the police station

14.Donate snowpants to the girl's school for kids who dont have them

15. Bring treats to the nurses on the children's unit of our local hospital

16. Pay for the meal of someone eating alone

17. Babysit for friends overnight so they get a break

18.Bring coffee to construction workers who are freezing out there (the kids love to bring popsicles when it's crazy hot)

19. Donate to Heifer International

20. Sponsor a child through Compassion

21. Bring Hot chocolate to the teachers who wait outside for the busses and children arriving to school in the morning

22. Make cards for kids in the hospital

23. Secretly shovel a neighbor's walk

24. Pay for the coffee of someone behind us in line at the drive thru and hope they pass in on

25. Deliver PW's hot cinnamon rolls Christmas morning to our favorite neighbors.


So, that's what we'll be up to in December, but I may start a little early with a few spontaneous additions along the way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunset beach picnic




One of the things on our summer list is a sunset beach picnic.  I rounded up a few of the girl's friends and we headed out.  (I often wonder what people think when they see me out alone with 7 (baby not pictured) children) We had a blast, there is something so magical about the beach in the evening. The kids caught a zillion crabs, with Maya being the bravest of all, called in when a creature needed wrangling, rescuing the six eight and nine year olds in the group.  Played in the icy water, it's still only 60* here, and built some great sandcastles and hopefully memories. We topped off the evening with a trip to our favorite ice cream place.  It really doesn't get much better. We decided to do it again. but to stay until it's dark enough for sparklers and lightning bugs.  Cannot wait!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What have we been up to?

Mostly this. And loving every second of it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The rockstar equivalent

At the lake today Maya achieved rockstar status. She caught a big turtle. She was immediately swarmed by no less than 25 kids, all amazed by her capture. I had to escort her back to the spot she caught it and supervise the release so no one caught him again. Seriously rockstar.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls Weekend

Girl weekend in Boston this weekend was so much fun! (Steph was there too, but left earlier that morning) We had a blast. We saw tons of Boston, ate amazing food, including Mike's canoli. It was the most laid back, spur of the moment, let the day unfold as it may kind of trip, my favorite. The weekend started when The Laura Case came in on Thursday night and then did family pictures for us on Friday morning. I will never forget this day. It was raining raining raining and we decided to try and get some photos anyway. Lets just say that Laura is amazing. She stood in the rain and whipping wind cheerfully while trying to get the grouchy (this person will remain unnamed for his/her own protection) in our family to smile. Not an easy task. There was a giant frame and tiny car involved, as well as many fake mustaches, I cannot wait to see how they turned out. We met up with Joanna, Liz and Steph later that day and had a fantastic dinner. Warrior Dash ended up not happening for us as it was fah-reez-ing and pouring so hard you couldn't see at times. We warriored our way right back to the hotel and relaxed and then walked around the city after the weather cleared instead. Much better than being cold, wet and muddy. It was like hanging out with friends I see all the time. It was so much fun and so refreshing to be around fun easy going people. We had another great dinner Saturday night. These ladies are funny. Seriously funny. Sunday we went to Harvard Yard and Laura did Liz's family pictures. Liz has the most beautiful family, and sweet, so sweet. We went back to her house for a cookout and relaxed. It was the perfect way to wrap up the weekend. (picture taken in the backyard) Laura and I made a quick trip to Ikea while trying to burn some time before going to the airport. I love me some Ikea. I had the best time and thank all of these ladies for a great time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So far...
I am short on words, long on fun. This is my favorite favorite time in life. Summer time with my kids who all still want to hang out with me. My house may suffer, but we are all so filled up with joy. These are the best days.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Show me the Family

We have a tiny camp about 2 hours from home, on a fantastic river. We took the kids there for the first time (I'm not sure what we had been doing not going there all these years, but wow, what a bummer. We will be making up for that poor judgement this summer.) and they loved it! We managed one photo on the front porch before we had to go exploring again. Maya found a crayfish in the river, and Will found a walking stick that had been cut by beavers. It was a fantastic time, but now they want to live there.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the road to Rhode Island

So we went to Rhode Island for my brother in law's wedding. Very sweet tiny ceremony, wedged in between the rain and wind, the one dryish part of the day. It was lovely.

But.

We had a whole weekend to fill. We let the kids spend the entire morning in the hotel pool. When they came out their hair had formed what I can only describe as rubberized ropes, and even after several days of washing conditioning rinsing repeating, it's still a mess. Any ideas what happened there?
Then we met up with some of our oldest friends and went to this teeny tiny kick ass aquarium where there were more touch tanks than anything else. Maya was absolutely taken with the shark petting tank. Yup, that's right. There were two tiny dogfish sharks that you could pat, and they were actually seeking out people to get some love. I think she stood there for close to an hour playing with the sharks. (that's a sentence that I never thought I'd write) Lilly also braved the sea creatures and held a giant horseshoe crab. It was pretty awesome. We then had ice-cream for lunch and spent three hours at a playground right around the corner from where Will grew up. It was a great weekend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beachy fun

We have been spending every available moment at the beach lately. The temperature has ranged from the 60s to the 90s, and each day has been fantastic. Let the summer fun begin!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Allie Girl

My Allie girl. This is a perfect perfect representation of her. Everything around her is gray is gloomy, and here she is shining brightly. She has such a light and joy about her. My girl. Walking out of school at the end of the day among the pint sized mass of dreary gray people, and rain for days,my girl with the rainbow umbrella comes skipping, skipping! to me. She lights me up. She is joy.

And now the damn blogger app isn't working...stat tuned for the picture!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Maya!

Maya,
Today you are five years old. Actually just as I began this post, your birth minute passed.  I can hardly believe another year has gone by.  You are amazing.  You are funny, so funny.  You are kind and sassy and sweet.  You are an animal lover, worm picker upper, spider fear-er.  You have taken on the role of big sister seamlessly.  You are a natural nurturer, and love love love the baby. Always kissing hugging, rubbing his head and checking on him.  You are an incredible friend and care taker to everyone in your special circle.  You learned this year that even if you don't really like someone, it is just as important to be kind to them as it is to be kind to your favorite friend.  You are very brave, and have no problem taking risks.  You jump off incredibly high platforms at the playground, and come away laughing.  You learned this year that water in your face is not going to end you.  You have bonded incredibly with Lukey-dog, and he sleeps on your bed every night, though he waits for your invitation. You and Allie fight all the time, but also play together well.  Lilly says that the two of you fight about everything, and you correct her saying that you don't fight about air.  You are so tall.  You have also learned to read!  You have started to sound out words and you write everything down now.  Most of the time we know exactly what you have written.  This morning you came into my room with a thank you note you had written in anticipation of your birthday gifts.  You seriously amaze me every day.  You allow my eyes to tear with pride on a regular basis.  You are always the first one to offer up a toy that someone else wants, an instrument, a snack, whatever it may be.  You are a peacemaker, except with Allie.  You are fierce about everything, fiercely loyal, loving, caring, funny. Your best friend is still Ryleigh, although Dylan, Noah and Claire are up there, too.   You love to sing in the car.  Your favorites are 'We're not gonna take it' and pretty much anything by Pink.  Last week we were driving listening to music, singing along, and I was flipping through songs, when I passed by Selena Gomez, and onto the Indigo Girls.  You asked for Selena when she went by, by as soon as you heard the Indigo Girls, you said, "no, this one, I like this better." Makes me know I am doing this mothering thing right at least part of the time.  You radiate beauty and happiness.  You also have your share of the grumps, but really, they are not often, and are easily overcome.  Some days you ask to please not leave the house, preferring to stay in your pajamas and relax.  On these days, I try to oblige, but sometimes it's not possible.  We try to make up for this on the weekends.  You love to play outside, and ask regularly to stay after school and play with your friends in the yard.  We try and do this nearly every day.  You are a true source of happiness and joy in all of our lives.  You are silly and prankish, loving and wonderful.  I am thankful everyday for you.  Happy fifth birthday lovey.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Farm Day

Yesterday was farm day at a local farm. We got to see lots of animals, we fed some goats dandelions ( turns out we shouldn't have, as it makes their milk sour, oops! There weren't any signs saying not to.) climbed on tractors, went on hayrides, had faces painted, saw beehives, got to pat newborn lambs. There were 4 sheep mamas and there were 3 sets of twin lambs, and two of the three sets were one black lamb, one white one. So cute! It was a really fun day, and really, what's cuter than a kid feeing a goat a bouquet of dandelions?



Thursday, May 5, 2011

Disguised




That is all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Misspeak


Lilly and Allie playing horses in the living room.

Allie says, "Lilly, you're my trusty Steve!"

These are my favorite things.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I scream, you scream

The first day for ice cream.



Sunday, April 17, 2011

Show me the Mommy




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, April 8, 2011

The lovely

Sitting here soaking in all of the lovely. Will resume irregular sporadic posting at some point, but for now, there is too much awesome to breathe in.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Even I can't resist

Whenever I am cranky, Will always makes his hand into a puppet and I just can't help cracking up. Every time. Even if I'm really mad. It's a weakness. This morning Lilly woke up grumpy, really grumpy. The 'I really want to stay home today so I'll say my tummy hurts because it kind of does and I'm feeling cranky anyway' kind of grumpy. There was no snapping her out of it. It lasted until we left for school. As soon as we got in the car I put on her favorite song to sing to (Pink's 'Raise your glass'. I know...) and broke out the singing hand. No dice. She cracked a smile and turned toward the window so she could continue grumping around in peace. When we got to the first red light I added eyes to my singing hand. She couldn't resist. The singing hand puppet worked it's magic! Success. We all couldn't stop laughing and she went to school happy. Seriously, you can't not laugh with a singing hand puppet looking at you.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A little of this and that

We went to Maine maple Sunday this weekend. They ran out of syrup. On Maine Maple Sunday. We had fun anyway and got free horse drawn wagon rides. Below is the Sugar House.


Maya loves the dog. Loves him. He sleeps on her bed every night. I think the feeling is mutual.


When did my girl get so old?! She is making such a goofy face, but looks so old to me.


Maya spotted these on our way out today. They made us all so hopeful for spring. I will not mention the "heavy amounts of snow" forecast for Friday.


Allie fell asleep like this tonight. She loves this nightlight. Loves it.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Show me the Daddy




Before school this morning, some sweetness happened and I couldn't resist capturing it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In between conferences




Our friends schedule their conferences directly before and after Maya's so that we can share childcare duties. This is what I kept them busy with when it was my turn. It is 31 degrees here and windy. I'm not going out there, it's freezing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The protectors

Allie has unsettling dreams from time to time. Sometimes she will have several nights of bad dreams in a row. We have a dream catcher and sweet dreams spray, but sometimes that isn't enough. She created her own special group of protectors, they are arranged in a specific group every night before she climbs up to the top bunk.


Guard dogs. Apparently bad dreams climb the ladder, and these guys prevent that from happening. No bad dreams since they've been on the job.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Life

It's funny, but lately I have been feeling in a different sort of funk.  A good funk.  And I was feeling like I couldn't or shouldn't share.  I am happy.  I am a generally extremely optimistic person.  I know that can seem annoying, but it is real.  The real me.  Even with all the crap of the past few weeks (see last post) I am happy.  Not that my kids were sick or that we were without heat, but in my center, happy.  And I decided, looking into my 34th year, which starts next month, that I am not going to apologize by omission anymore.  I know life isn't all sunshine and rainbows shooting out of every orifice.  Yes, things in my life are hard and we have things that are much less than pleasant to deal with, but I am lucky in so many ways.  I choose to see the glass as mostly full.  I love what each day brings even when I am frazzled and frustrated and there is way more stuff that needs to be done than I want to do, but I am happy.  I was feeling like I shouldn't share this because people may view me as a fraud.  You know something, I don't care, because I know that I put it all out there.  When it's ugly, I say it is.  When it's great, I want to say it's great.  I don't say this to flaunt my life, I say this because it is how I feel about my life.  Yes, I worry about lots of things and people and situations, but I make a very big effort to see things in the best possible light.  Everything happens for a reason, this too shall pass, everything has to be somewhere...these are all things that my Mom always has said to me, and I used to roll my eyes and not think much of it, but now?  I understand.  We get to learn from everything.  We get to try again.  We get to have all of these wonderful, messy, awful, amazing, enlightening, life altering things.  And we get to become.  We get to teach our children how to be.  We get to be here for such a short time.  I hope this doesn't offend anyone.  Please know that I think of my friends and family who are going through less than happy stuff, I think about the terrible devastation in Japan, I do my part in trying to support many different charities and causes, I try to make a difference. I try to teach my children to care for others, to be considerate.  We try to do lots of little thing to brighten the days of others.  It is amazing how much difference one tiny gesture can make, both good and bad.  I like to go out of my way to fill up space with good.  For me this has been an awakening.  I used to hide my happy.  I used to hide a lot of the great things in order to not seem fake, but honestly, I'm all done with that.  I am happy, I am truthful, I love what is going on for our family right now.  I love my friends and will support them all in whatever comes.  I will feel sad, and I do about some things,  but  for now, I am unapologetically happy, content, and peaceful with who I am. I can feel a shift, and I like it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A full week


Just so we can look back and laugh in a few years. This week we have had in chronological order;

Maya diagnosed with Strep throat, and run a fever of 102

Our 100 year old furnace died Monday

Stayed at home even though it is below freezing, because our house is apparently crazy well insulated and although it is -3 with the windchill it's still 54* in the house

Built a gajillion fires in the fireplace

Lilly up literally the entire night Tuesday vomiting every 15 minutes

With no heat

Lilly diagnosed with Strep Wednesday

Still no heat

Got home from the doctors with Lilly and immediately have Allie say she has a sore throat

Call the doctor, have them call in a prescription for Allie as well

Discover that Lilly is allergic to Penicillin.

Still no heat

Call the doctor and get Lilly on a different antibiotic. Thursday.

Buy tons of yogurt

Buy flowers for the Target pharmacists because holy crap they are the nicest, most helpful go out of their way to help a Mom with everyone on antibiotics you have ever seen

Go to the pharmacy and deliver said flowers, pick up Allie's prescription and Lilly's new prescription.

Still no heat

Sit at home with 4 kids (yup, Ryleigh gets to have it too) who really don't want to be cooped up anymore. Thursday, still no heat

Try to take a shower but the furnace guys have shut off the gas because they are at the point of converting the new furnace from oil to gas, so no shower for me.

Try to be thankful that we have the means to buy medicine and have a new furnace coming.

Wish really hard that spring would just get here already.

Still no heat.







Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday with a caption





This is a nearly perfect summation of my family, blurriness and all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Show me the Mommy




I took Lilly and Allie to lunch at the most fun local restaurant to celebrate the last day of school before vacation. They loved it there and continue to beg to go back. That *might* have something to do with the slice of chocolate cake we shared that was bigger than Allie's head. We ended up taking most of the meal to go, but we had such a good time together. Makes me realize that it date night with individual girls are fun, but having two at a time is such a treat! We played cards while waiting for our food, laughed so hard, and told great stories of the day. This was such a great time, we will definitely be doing more two girls at a time days.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unexpected sweetness

Walking across our porch a few days ago I came across this;


I have no idea when she wrote it, but the author is standing by to be sure I see it. My Allie girl is in such a sweet stage. Love.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Superhero Wedding

The girls were playing super heroes with Will last night. I expected to see battles and rescues. When I walked in I found them setting up for a wedding. Will had cued up the wedding march on the computer, and the guests had all arrived. I can't imagine when he saved his super hero collection for his children this is what he had in mind, but he tells me time and time again that he wouldn't want it any other way.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 21, 2011

Skating


We took the girls ice skating yesterday, and despite only having skated once before (last year) Maya rocked it! She flew around that rink, and left her sisters in the dust. They were impressed that she was so fast (and a little jealous) and wanted to know why she was so good at it. She skated with her friend Noah who is going to play hockey in April (see his cute gear?) and she ha now decided that she might like to play too. Now the question is whether or not I can be a hockey Mom.


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I have never been a huge fan of this holiday.  Will and I rarely do anything to celebrate it.  I think that every day should be the day to tell and show people you love them.  Why should one day be special?
That said, I do do a little something for the girls.  I only do things that I probably would have anyway, but it was nice to have an extra reason to stay up late sewing paper hearts together to make garland for their room, and paper heart necklaces for them to wear today. I cut their sandwiches into hearts to send in their lunches and left a few small gifts on the ends of their beds, as well as a love letter for each of them, and they were happy.  When I got back to the grocery store, there was a letter in our mailbox, stamp and all, addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Our last name.  It was from Lilly.  They are working on letter writing at school, and she had written us a letter that made me tear up.  Her cursive is gorgeous, but her words are something that I will always remember.
 
"Dear Mom and Dad,
                            I love you because...
you're always there for me when I need you. When I get scared you cuddle meand tell me it's ok.  I love you because you make me laugh. I love you because you tuck me in at night and spray sweet dreams spray over my head to scare away the bad dreams and nightmares.  I love you because you're you.

                         Yours Truly,
                                    Lilly

P.S. Here is the key (picture of a key) to my heart (pic of a heart)



Seriously, I am so very lucky to have this girl in my life.  I share this letter because I want to have it always and here it can be preserved should anything happen to the real one. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Note

Allie wrote me a love note on my hand last week.  I do this for her when she is having a hard time leaving for school in the morning.  It's something that helps her through the day if she's missing me.  Mine says (yes its upside down) "I love u with all my heart. xoxoxoxoxoxo"  I have to admit, it was sweet to look down and see it there all day.  Love that girl.