Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

Another year gone, another year here.
I realize that everyone says this, including me last year, but really... where does the time go?
365 days just fly by.
How am I supposed to keep my kiddos young, relish the time I have with them where everyone is still innocent & sweet when 12 months is over just as soon as it begins? 
I did not authorize this to happen.
I'm so thankful for the lessons I have learned in 2013 - personally & professionally.
As a mom, I've learned more patience (because you can always use more), more perspective, better communication, better listening, and I was reminded once again that it is the smallest things in life that absolutely matter.  The hugs, the kisses, the handholding, the squeezes, the smiles, the quiet moments along with the chaotic & crazy loud ones too.  Each one of those was an important lesson and reminder about the incredibleness of being a mom.
I was blessed to have a new opportunity with my career - the door opened for an Assistant Principal position way up here in the Last Frontier and I have learned something new & incredible each and every day since starting this summer.
Brian and I too have learned some important lessons this year together.  Despite having an always present (yet fluid) path & plan for our future, we went through some pretty rocky rapids & felt like we were thrown from our boat this year.  Needless to say, our plan changed quickly.  As with all difficult times that we have endured, we hung on to each other, we reminded one another about our own strengths as we navigated thru the fears of the unknown. In the end, the light shown bright for us and we are certainly looking forward to a new chapter in our lives come this next year. 
2014 will certainly be filled with change & one that brings us home to family & old friends.
Happy New Year!

Sleep - The precious thing of parents

Sleep.  One of the most cherished things for Mommies and Daddies.
At the beginning of parenthood there is hardly any of it.  It's all one big fog and blur. If I didn't have a blog to refer back to, I'm certain I wouldn't be able to recall much because of the massive lack of sleep as a beginning mom.  Matter of fact, I distinctly remember my husband professing in the first few weeks of Thomas' life that he has never been more tired in his entire life.  Ha-Ha... and then we went on to have two more kiddos. 

Over the course of the first few weeks and months, it slowly got better.  I'm pretty sure I was in utter shock when each of our little bundle of joys slept for 3, 5 or heck, even 8 hours straight without waking after so many months of not enjoying a "normal" night sleep.

During those toddler & preschool years, there was plenty of ups and downs with each of our kiddos.  What's coming to mind immediately is with Thomas - he went through a long stretch when he would get up in the middle of the night and come curl up on our bedroom floor.  We would find him fast asleep each morning at my feet.  Then there was the awful stretch of time that we had to deal with Abby screaming and fighting going to bed each night.  She hated when we said goodnight and closed her bedroom door.  Oy Vay... we took turns sleeping on her floor, rocking her to sleep, & letting her cry it out.  Man, that felt like it lasted F.O.R.E.V.E.R!  Of course, then there was the time, months endless times that my kiddos would get up at 5:30 in the morning - on the weekends - and I would think, "good God, why on earth is this happening to me on the weekends? Can't they just let me get some extra sleep?"

Did I mention that sleep is one of the most cherished things for Mommies and Daddies?

When it comes to sleep, I think it is the responsibility of parents to do two important things for our children: 1) train them to have good sleep patterns/routines which includes having them sleep in their own beds and 2) train them to get a "full" night sleep.  How parents go about doing this is completely different, but the earlier in their child's life they do this, the sooner kids will be less likely to fight bedtime/naptime, their body clocks will run on "normal" time, and of course, most importantly, parents will get a good, solid night sleep!  I say this all though with a tremendous amount of hindsight thinking.  Ha-ha, man did we struggle just like so many other parents.

Today, however, I feel like we are in a new place with sleep in our house.  We've been here for awhile (thank the sweet Lord), but now that Marilyn just got her big girl bed, it made me give pause and think about what sleep looks like in our house now with a 6-year, 4-year, & 2-year old.  The girls still take naps, no one fights bedtime, the kids sleep in on the weekends & even play together quietly while they let Mommy & Daddy sleep until well after 8 AM.  I'm pretty sure that we have turned a corner when it comes to parent sleep... that is until the kids become teenagers.  Oy Vay.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Marilyn's Big Girl Bedroom!

After having baby furniture in our house for a steady 6.5 years, it was finally time to say goodbye to it and give Marilyn a big girl bedroom that she (as well as us) could be excited about.
It didn't take long to find a young couple who had just had a baby to sell the entire baby stuff to (all of it - crib, changing table, dresser and glider/ottoman). We gave it to them for a steal and in return found a brand new dresser that we thought would work great in Marilyn's room.  The other purchase we made was this used sleigh bed that we had every intention of refurbishing to fit nicely in the girly room we wanted to create for our youngest.
Here's what we started with Saturday afternoon:
The sanding process...

Then came the primer last night...
And because this was how we spent our Saturday night, what better way to enjoy it than with a few glasses of wine while Brian and I worked together in the garage.

By this morning, the bed was ready for the "perfect" color.

Can you believe this is the transformation this sleigh bed went through?
Back in the house, we cleared out Marilyn's room.  As much as I wanted and was ready to move Marilyn into a big girl bed, I would remiss if I didn't say that I gave pause to take in this milestone moment - the baby stuff is officially gone. *sigh* (sniff-sniff)
Here she is patiently awaiting her big girl stuff.

And of course, her sidekick.
I tried to push most of the junk toward the closet & give the girls plenty of space to play while they waited.

And finally...
Marilyn's Big Girl Bedroom...

 I love how the dresser (a deep dark brown) off sets the bright pastels all around the room. 

 I love that we still have & use the Pinocchio that was once Brian's as a young child.
 I also love the bright colors found in the homemade curtains & valance that Grannie made for Marilyn when we first moved into our house two years ago.

 Actually, there is one thing left from the girls' baby things - the baby blanket that I had mounted and hung as wall decoration.  I love how simple it is and how the pastel colors still tie in.
And here's what the big girl thinks of her new room:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hard Rocker Boy!

He loves music.
This is no secret - singing, dancing, and making music.
I've blogged about his obsession here, here, here and of course, here.
But not until today have I seen this.
With no one else around, and with his electric guitar, he made his own first rock video with an iPad.
Hilarious - his expressions, he knows all the words, and seriousness.
I believe he has taken it to an all new high.
Meet our Hard Rocker Boy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday AND Christmas Leftovers (numbers edition)

1 - the early hour on the clock that Abby was bedside telling me Santa had arrived & it was time to get up.
3 - the early hour on the clock that both Abby & Thomas were again by my bedside telling me Santa had brought presents and that it was time to get up!
7 - the morning hour on the clock that the kids woke us up as they exclaimed "Merry Christmas!"
5 - the negative degree temperature it was outside when we woke up to celebrate Christmas.
6 - the high temperature of the day.
65 - number of minutes it took start to finish to open every last gift that Santa & loved ones had delivered.
7 - how many times Abby told me that she didn't like the breakfast casserole I had made.
1 - cups of coffee I had through all the Christmas chaos.
3 - number of trips we pulled the big sled to the dumpster with Xmas trash.
2 - the afternoon hour on the clock that I finally took a shower and got dressed.
25 - amount spent on 8 "D" sized batteries at the local gas station that morning when we realized we forgot them for his Hot Wheel Track.  Can we say ripe off?
35 - amount spent on 6 "9v" batteries at the same local gas station that evening when our smoke detectors wouldn't stop beeping & chirping just 30 minutes before Christmas dinner was served.
47 - times Marilyn asked when Santa was going to come again to deliver presents.  I'm pretty sure she expected to do the whole thing over again the next morning.
2 - Skype sessions we had with loved ones in the Lower 48.
2 - number of presents I got to open early.
0 - number of presents everyone else got to open early.
193 - number of times that Thomas told us that this was the greatest Christmas ever.
528 - number of times that Abby told us that her Make Up Station was her most favorite present followed by her double-seat baby stroller.
21 - number of times that Marilyn told us she loved "everything."

Christmas morning delights

There is nothing more special on a Christmas morning than watching your loved ones open their presents that were so thoughtful chosen for each of them - especially your own children.
Christmas morning delights are what I am calling them, and they are by far my favorite part of the day.  Here's a peek:


I hope all of family & friends had a wonderful Christmas - wherever they or their loved ones may be.  We were blessed this year with no deployments and to be together during the holidays, but we realize that there are so many military families who are separated during this Christmas season and it is those who we keep in our thoughts and prayers.