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This Is What Matters

So,
I just had the most amazing day.
Those of you that have more than one child might be able to follow me here.
Those of you who don’t, bare with me…
This could get sappy.
I have three children.
And I love them all.
But,
Sometimes it takes being alone with one of them to fully appreciate them.
Today I had that chance.
For Father’s Day, Logan took the two big kids to the Yankee’s game, leaving me and Baby Mack alone for the day.
I knew I wanted to make our time together special, but didn’t exactly know how the day would pan out.
We were going with the flow.
Rollin’ with it.
So after the Yankee caravan pulled out I got the idea to head to The Farmers Market.
And it was everything I could have hoped for.
My girl and I scored ourselves strawberries, blackberries, raspberry jam, cinnamon bread, and the most precious bunch of flowers you’ve ever seen.
We both had a blast.
After we had eaten most of the strawberries and a half of the loaf of cinnamon bread, I decided it was time to take naps.
Together.
Cause that’s what you do when you only have one kid…right?
While I did love snuggling next to my sweet baby, the napping thing didn’t go as I expected.
As in, she didn’t fall asleep… even for a second.
But being the quick thinkin mama that I am…
I had an idea.
We jumped in the car with a bag of bathing suits and towels and headed to the river.
The hour and fifteen minute drive down old country roads was just what my soul needed.
And must have been what McKinnley’s needed too.
She was out like a light and before we knew it we were on the sandy banks of The Rappohannock.
It was just me and my sweet girl and I was able to give her all my attention and love.
I was able to study her freckles that dust her cheeks and smile at the sweet gap between her teeth.
I was able to listen to her lisp certain words and and to look straight into her big blue eyes.
With out a distraction in the world.
I watched her jump the waves and make a cake out of sand.
I chased her across the beach and laid with her in the sun.
I found myself, several times through out the day, smiling from ear to ear and thinking to myself how awesome this day was.
After a couple of hours on the beach we threw our stuff back in the car and drove home.
It was so simple.
So easy.
So perfect.
I have been longing for that lately.
Simpleness.
Is that a word?
No material distractions.
No pettiness.
No fuss.
I love that my kids love fresh strawberries and can be entertained for hours by the water.
I love being barefoot and driving down back roads.
I love having all the windows down and fans running.
I love the simpleness of it.
Its hard sometimes…
You get caught up in the material things.
What you have… and what you don’t.
But it is days like this that are here to remind me that THIS…
Is what Matters.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

The Graduate.
Not the movie…
An actual high school graduate.
My baby brother to be exact.
My baby brother who is 10 years younger than me and who I will forever think of as a blond haired blue eyed five year old.
So last week we celebrated his graduation and a little walk down memory lane.
I had no idea how emotional I would be, but as I stood at his graduation party and looked and the years of his life hung up in pictures, I started to cry.
Being ten years older I always felt a bit like a mom to him.
Now, being an ACTUAL mom, I stood there looking at his baby pictures and in his face saw Taegan’s.
In front of me was proof of how the years really do fly by and I couldn’t help but sob.
Embarrassingly and uncontrollably.
I did pull myself together and reminded myself that I still how a good 12 years until I need to be the blubbering mess of a mother.
So…
 I rallied and took my rightful spot as the proud big sister.
And I am.
Oh so proud.
Here’s to you Baby Brutha…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

 

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
Oh, the places you’ll go!
 
We Love you so much and are already so proud of the places you’ll go!

 

I Heart Nap Time

I heart nap time.
I really do.
So far this summer EVERY one has been going down for a nap around 2:00.
The girls, Taegan, and even myself!
The kids get up early and are staying up late due to the fact that I love lazy summer nights and watching them run around barefoot catching fireflies.
So, by two o’clock we are all ready for a rest.
I feel guilty about napping.
I feel like there are a million things I could/should be doing.
I feel…lazy.
But I’ve noticed these past few weeks after I lie down I am a better ‘me’ in the afternoon.
I have more energy for jumping on the trampoline and more patience for the ‘witching hour’ tantrums.
Some days I don’t even sleep.
I rest my head that feels like it weighs a hundred pounds.
I lay under our swirling ceiling fan and breath slowly as the silence fills the house.
My body needs the rest as much as my mind.
I don’t have to fill up drinks or serve snacks.
I don’t have to kiss boo boos or hold babies.
I am still.
And sometimes thats enough.
Other times…
I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow.
And thats fine too.
I still feel a twinge of guilt…
but I’ll get over it.
For now it’s nap times all around!

Sweet Summer NIghts…

My kids do not want for anything.
They have seven great-grandparents, four sets of grandparents, two aunts, four uncles…
and a partridge in a pear tree.
They get gifts constantly and around Christmas or birthdays our house looks like a Toys R Us store.
That being said…
I smile at the fact that it is the simple toys that they love.
Wooden blocks.
Markers and crayons.
The swing set.
And now we’ve added a sand box to our list.
And a glass of wine for Mama.
Of course.
We’ve had this oldie-but-goody since Taegan’s first birthday, and since Macky has developed a deep love for dirt, decided to break it out for the summer.
The three of them squeezed into this thing for almost an hour last night while I rocked on the patio.
It was a Sweet Summer Night indeed.

To Babysitters…

Its 8:36 AM.
So far this morning I have spilled an entire bag of chips, burnt 4 pieces of toast, broken a glass, and fixed 5 breakfasts for 3 kids.
Lilah-Grace won’t quite screaming at me to fix her orange juice and to turn up Dora.
As if I need any help getting that damn song stuck in my head.
I had to chase Macky down b/c she swiped my check book and was using it as a coloring book and Taegan is using the doorways as soccer goals.
Get. Me. Outta. Here.
I know, I know…
I’ve been the one counting down until summer.
And here I am 4 days in and feeling in over my head.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love my lazy mornings and not having to wake the girls up from naps to go get Tae from school.
I can’t remember the last time the kids took a shower and we’ve been outside until after 9 all week.
BUT…
These long days are taking some adjusting.
For all of us.
The only reason I’m not balled up on the floor of my bathroom with a glass of wine already?
 I’ve called in for backup.
One day a week this summer I am treating myself to a babysitter so I can gallivant around the city.
AKA
Grocery shop and go to the gym.
But hey…
I’ll be by myself.
So this is me raising my second cup of coffee and eating the crusts off the girls toast…
To Babysitters!
T-minus 1 hour eight minutes and counting.
Cheers.

The Words Every Mom Longs To Hear…

I had a day yesterday.
I was rainy.
And cold.
And outside wasn’t much better.
I was in a full on stand off with LG over a messy room.
Exhibit A:
A standoff that spanned most of the day.
There were tears and screaming and may or may not have been a phone call made to her father threatening to sell her on Ebay.
I spent the day folding laundry and putting kids in and out of time out and by 4 o’clock I’d hit a wall.
I needed to take a knee.
Call for a sub.
Raise my white flag.
And just as Macky deliberately through my potted mint plant off the patio my husband came home.
And to my rescue.
He handed me a card with tickets to a concert next month.
A country concert at that.
Then he said those words that every mom longs to hear…
 “A babysitter should be here any minute and we were going out.”
I don’t think I’d been that surprised since I took a pregnancy test about two and half years ago.
Freedom.
We were in the car in under10 minutes and on our way to play some tennis and grab dinner.
I needed that something bad and my husband came through in a big way.
I don’t tell him often enough how amazing he is…
But he is.
Pretty amazing.
He loves me when I don’t love myself and is there to lift me up when I’ve fallen flat on my face.
I didn’t even realize it, but yesterday marked the 13th anniversary of when we started dating.
He remembered that.
He saw me take a knee, call for a sub, while waving my ‘I surrender flag’ and swept in and saved the day.
And that…
Is why I love him so.

Each Other

I’ve been watching my children a little closer lately.
As the school year comes to an end I am ultra sensitive to the fact that time is flying by…
It feels like just yesterday I had a panic attack about sending my oldest into Kindergarten.
Now he’s got the whole year under his belt and seems to have grown inside and out.
I have found myself sitting back and watching them play with each other and thinking a lot about the relationships they have as brother and sisters.
I heard somewhere that people often try and explain to you the love that you will feel for your children.
But, you never hear much about the love that you will feel when you see the love that THEY feel for each other.
Its pretty awesome.
My kids fight.
They tattle.
They hit.
They can’t share.
They boss each other around.
But when they think I’m not looking, and they are deep into a game of Pet Store or Safari…
They are best friends.
It makes me think about the things they will remember when they are grown with children of their own.
Will they remember this special bond?
Will they keep it?
Will they remember their endless games of Mommy and babies?
Will they remember these rainy days when we are in our pajamas until noon?
Did we do the right thing by having all kids within 3 and 1/2 years?
What can we do to encourage their relationships?
To make them stronger.
I love my kids with all my heart.
But their is nothing like seeing them love each other.
Nothing.

Blooming

We are still trying to come down after a Memorial Weekend High from being at the Rivah!
But look what was waiting for me upon my return…
I’m one proud mama!
This is the equivalent to potty training a two year old or watching your little boy soar on his bike without training wheels.
My patience and care has paid off and watching these pretty things bloom has been a sweet reward.

 

 

Still, nothing quite compares to watching these three bloom.
And just as I left my hydrangeas for a long weekend and they grew these beautiful flowers, I feel like its happening just as quickly with these guys.
I blink my eyes and the school year is over.
They grow a foot.
They rediscover their love for the water.
They get their sea legs.
They are*Blooming*
(waiting in the parking lot of Firestone after putting our car in the shop)

 

(macky gets her nails done with mommy)

 

(on the way to The River)

 

 

(the kids docking up their “boats”. this was me and my cousins not so long ago.)

 

(“take a picture of me like this mom!”)

 

(after 4 days in the sun and running on little sleep, this is where macky was for most of the day yesterday)

Glowing

The light in our den in the late afternoons is just perfect.
It inspires me to clean up the mess of markers and pictures so that the glow coming from the windows can light up a clean room.
Usually we have the windows open and the fans blowing and it makes me feel as if I could peak out my front windows and see the ocean.
Late afternoons and evenings are usually packed full of activity.
Homework, soccer practice, tennis, basketball, dinner, etc…
We had one glowing night this week that Logan had come home early and we had no place to be.
So…
We just were.
Some of my most favorite pictures of my family and house are from nights like this.
No special occasion.
No big event.
Just us as we are.
Will a little help from some fantastic lighting…

Here’s to a *glowing* Memorial Day Weekend as well!

Survival

Got this card in the mail the other week from one of my best friends.
She knows me too well…

The Act of Putting Pen to Paper…

Now don’t get me wrong I love my Mac and the way the keyboard clicks as I type.
But, there is something about a crisp new journal and a fresh ballpoint pen that can’t be beat.
Just as I have an addiction to tote bags and Tervis cups…
I have a strong draw to a zebra print journal with college ruled paper.
I got this one from the new Boutique sections in Target.
Which I love.
Just what I needed too.
More ways to spend money at Target.
Excellent.
Well, I couldn’t pass up this one and it seemed to be calling my name as I strolled my cart by.
I never know what I’m going to write in them.
To-Do Lists.
Journal Entries.
Blog Posts.
Most of the time they end up in the grimy little hands of my children and are covered is Taegan’s drawings of sharks or Lilah-Graces pictures of little people with big scary heads.
So…
We’ll see how long this one will be mine.
I’ve already had to confiscate it twice from a little thief whose name starts with a Macky and ends with a Boo.
“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”  ~Norbet Platt

Cheers!

Two weekends ago some long-time friends and their spouses got together to throw some soon-to-be spouses and longtime friends a little soiree to celebrate their upcoming nuptials.
One of these longtime friends also happens to my longtime little sister so my interests were extra personal.
  This was going to be good.
It had to be good.
Because last time these longtime friends got together to throw one of these things the boys were in charge.
They had settled on the idea of a pig roast and when we showed up that is what they had.
A pig.
Roasting.
And a keg.
And that was IT!
No plates, silverware, napkins, sides…
A pig and beer.
And they saw nothing wrong with it.
So this time the wives/girlfriends took over and threw a pretty sweet little party if I do say so myself.
We settled on a Low Country Boil theme and it took off from there.
Let’s just say that by the nights end the soon-to-be groom’s parents ended up going through a Burger King drive thru.
TWICE!
Yes…
It was a good night.

 

Our Low Country Boil prepared by my cousin Anthony…
yum.

 

My sister’s save the dates.
Photo taken by…me!

 

My kids decided to cash in on the opportunity and started a lemonade stand smack in the middle of the party.
Charging $3 a cup!
They ended up making over twenty bucks, so we are thinking of setting up one of these bad boys at the wedding in September!

 

 

These precious things are my new go-to-gifts!
Personalized Crab Mallets.
You can find them here!
The price is UNBELIEVABLE and it was super fast delivery.
I’ve already gotten some for our sweet cousin Ella Bella and one for each of my kids that I’m going to give them on the first day of summer!

 

And you know it ain’t a party until there is a naked Logan baby.

 

We had such a great night with such great friends and family.
Cheers to the soon-to-be Happy Couple!

Eating Our Popsicles…Naked

We are almost there.
Its so close I can taste the salt water of The Rappahannock and smell the honeysuckle of our evening walks.
Bed times are beginning to get later and later.
And mornings are getting lazier and lazier.
Our dinners usually consist of some type of Popsicles and are eaten outside…clothing optional.
We’ve caught our first batch of fireflies and have been sprayed by our first round of Adios Mosquito’s.
The girls have celebrated their last day of school and Taegan is in full countdown mode…
9 days.
A lot of parents are dreading the summer.
And I’m sure I’ll be eating my words come August.
But I can’t wait.
So until June first, and our official start of summer…
We’ll be here counting down the days and eating our Popsicles.
Naked.

Here are some pictures from the girls last days…

Fruits of My Labor

So…
I’ve never been much of a gardener.
I never had any real desire to grow a green thumb.
I would admire nicely maintained lawns and OOoo and Ahhh with the best of them at pretty flowers.
But, until this spring, having a garden always seemed like, well, way too much work.
It is like having a child for goodness sakes!
They need to be fed and watered every day.
They need to be trimmed and groomed.
Some are very temperamental.
Some don’t like it hot.
Other can’t survive in the cold…
Geesh!!
And all for what?!?
A couple of blooms that don’t even last an entire season.
Phew…
Not. For. Me.
Well,
I guess not for the ‘old’ me.
This ‘new’ me kinda likes to garden.
I’m not sure if I’ve actually changed or if for once I actually have plants that I put a lot of work and money into, and therefore am more deeply invested?
I do have to say though, there is definitely some gratification in gardening.
Some of it is instant.
Which I like.
B/c this girlfriend is super impatient.
Like say… pulling weeds.
You spend all this time pulling and digging these weeds up and in the end your results are right in front of you!
Some of it is not so instant.
Take watering.
Most plants, especially during our dry hot summers, need watering everyday.
So everyday I water and I still haven’t seen my first bloom or tasted our first strawberry.
But unlike an impatient child that wants something to drink,
my hydrangeas are silent and still.
They never complain about who gets to eat first or that someone got more than they did.
They never whine that they have to eat the same thing everyday or that they don’t like the way I fix their meal.
Yeah… I’m definitely starting to get this “gardening” thing.
And while I would absolutely not consider my self by any means a real gardener…
I am reveling in the fact that I have not yet killed my dozen or so “babies” and am patiently/impatiently awaiting the arrival of the fruits of my labor. (Also check my friend’s reviews on best outdoor cat house for placing in small garden.)

Enjoy

We’ve been enjoying this warm weather…
Have you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smells Like Summer

It smells like summer in my house today.
My french doors have been open all day and barefooted kids have been running in and out to show me rocks and treasures all afternoon.
Today makes me happy.
So do these…
My first attempt at fried chicken.
Success.

 

Perfect place to end a lazy Sunday. (Also check my friend’s reviews on best outdoor cat shelter for placing in small garden.)
My indoor garden.

 

A year later and I finally decided on bar stools!

 

And her.

 

 

I Told Ya So…

So here are my hydrangeas and jasmine I told y’all I was planning to put in around our patio. Well, I did it! About seven trips to home depot and three weeks later… And I couldn’t be prouder!

My Cups Runnneth Over

Yesterday I did a rare thing.
I did something for me.
The kids were split up and sent off and I was one my own for the day.
Well, for half of the day.
We woke up to the pounding rain and a Macky Boo with a fever of 102.

Fitting.

I was supposed to be off and out the door early to be enjoying the Historic Garden Tour in our town.
I had never been before and this year the homes on the tour were right near my house and on a route I drive everyday.
The thought of being able to go into these house that I secretly stalk on my way to drop off and pick up my son from school was like a dream.
A dream that seemed to be coming to an end when McKinnley woke up burning and cranky and in no shape to go to school.
But, as did the weather, she turned a corner.
With a little help from some Baby Tylenol and some snuggles, by noon she was back to spunky self and I wasted no time shipping her out.
For the rest of the afternoon my grandmother and I lunched at the Country Club and were shuttled from gorgeous home to even more gorgeous home soaking in the amazing decorating and breathtaking gardens.
I was by far the youngest person on the tour but it didn’t bother me one bit.
I was in heaven.
After we saw the last of the houses I headed to home.
To an empty home.
Albeit, a messy empty home, but empty non the less.
I actually laid on the couch for an uninterrupted 30 minutes listening to the creaks of the house and the baby birds that have made their home in our wreath.
I rallied and got dressed and went to pick up a friend for a fashion show that was held at one of my favorite stores.
I got invited b/c I am in there so often, a little embarrassing, but the owner is this free-spirited spunky lady who I am so glad to know.
We walked into the wonderland filled with wine and hors d’oeuvres and watched this fashion show of Magnolia Pearl and So Sew Eco that made you feel as if you were transported back into the 20’s with their line of ruffle bloomers.
It also felt like you were in this fairytale as the models skipped and twirled and danced down the runway.
It was like a dream.

I left feeling so full and inspired.
I came home, again to an empty house, and jammed out to some John Mayer, his live version of Free Falling.
If you’ve never heard that version you are missing out.
I cleaned and danced in my kitchen and sipped on another glass of wine and then floated to my cheap bunk beds.
My literal wine cup had been full all night and now my figurative cup, the one deep in my soul, had been filled to the top too.
By almost midnight I was tucked in my bed and missing my family like crazy.
And my cups runneth over.

I Had To…

After my day yesterday…
I just had to post this.
A man came home from work and found his 3 children outside, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn around garden, The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and no sign of the dog, walking in the door, he found …an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, the throw rug was against one wall, In the front room the TV was on loudly with the cartoon channel, the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pyjamas, reading a novel… She looked up at him, smiled and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’ She again smiled and answered, ‘You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?…
”Yes,” was his incredulous reply..
She answered, ‘Well, today I didn’t do it.’
 

Today…Is Not One of Those Days

Usually I come here to recount, relive, and remember the many blessings I have.
I like to sit and write about the cute things my kids have done and said and how full they make my heart.
Today…
Is not one of those days.
Today…
My kids drove me crazy.
Today…
I had a beer before 5 o’clock.
I guess it all started early today.
And I am talking 2AM early.
Macky decided to join us in our cheap bunk beds around 2 this morning.
Macky’s periodical visits to our bed are always the same.
She climbs her little self into our king size bed and plants tiny yet powerful little body right up against the parent of her choice.
Last night I was the lucky one.
She kicks, and pokes, and plays like she’s on the playground.
She tries to pick your nose and poke your eyes and chats you up about the days events.
This goes on for HOURS!
Last night I’d finally had enough and resorted to my secret weapon.
Rock. Rock.
Any Mommy knows those magic words.
“You wanna Rock Rock?”
So we rocked and rocked and rocked and close to 3 she finally fell asleep.
Sufficed to say, she was rotten today.
I’m pretty sure she cried or whined every waking hour.
A whinny baby can do a number on a tired mama.
And in my case a whinny baby, plus a whinny sister, and very needy 6 year old…
Well, are you starting to understand my early drinking?
So its four minutes to 9 and all are in bed.
One is asleep.
One is eating.
One is crying.
Can you guess who is who?
And me?
 I am on to drink #2.
So Cheers!
 To a better Wednesday and earlier bedtimes for all!