Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keeping It Real

One of my favorite mommy blogs right now is Kelly's Korner.  Her post today was about how imperfect she feels as a mom of two young toddlers.  She talked about how her house is never clean, her laundry is always piled up, and her meals are not always gourmet or home cooked.  I can so relate to how she feels.  Sometimes I feel like my blog does not show what my life is really like.  Being at home with three little ones is tough.  There are days when I want to hide in the closet and cry. 
When I started this blog, I made a decision that it would not be a place to air our family's dirty laundry.  I use it as a scrapbook for my kids so that they can have a place to look back and read about special and important events in their lives.  I try to keep things very positive on my blog, which can sometimes give the impression that things are always perfect at the Brown house.  After reading Kelly's post today, I decided that I want my kids to know about some of the not-so-perfect things that happen in our house.   I am going to title these posts "Keeping it Real".  I hope that when my kids are grown and raising families of their own, they can look back on these posts and know that I went through some of the same things that they will face with their own kids.  So here goes...

- I would love to make healthy, three course meals every night of  the week, but I don't because a) my kids are picky eaters and b) my kids are picky eaters.  So... tacos and spaghetti and chicken nuggets are staples at our house.  And not the homemade chicken nuggets.  The frozen ones that you heat in the microwave. (*gasp*)    I see pictures on other moms blogs of plates with carrots, celery and broccoli and I think "yeah right...maybe when pigs fly!".  I always try to put a piece of fruit on my kids plates but there are many days that it goes down the drain too.  At least I'm trying, right?

-We went to Central Market yesterday and let each kid pick out one treat from the candy bulk bins.  Parker ate his before we could even get to the front of the store to pay for it.  The worst part... this was before dinner.  Yes, he ate candy before dinner which probably spoiled his appetite.  Oops!

-I am very good about washing the laundry but I HATE to fold it and put it away.  There are many days that the kids clothes come straight out of the dryer or a pile.

-Today I finally got around to folding some of the laundry that had been in the dryer for at least three days.  The kids "helped" me by unfolding everything that I had just folded.  After a few times of refolding the same thing, I completely lost it and told all three kids that the next person that even touched a piece of clothing was going to time-out.  I definitely missed out on a laundry folding teaching moment there!
I hope that these confessions are encouraging to those of you out there who are also in the trenches with your little ones.  Life with toddlers is wonderful, but it is exhausting, messy, stinky, and, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I am not perfect, but I am trying my hardest to show my kids that I love them and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing than spending my days with them.  Even if that means cleaning up a trail of chocolate (yes, chocolate and definitely NOT organic) milk in the hallway for the fourth time this week!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It Was Bound to Happen

UPDATE:  After three days, seven washes with Dawn dish soap, one wash with peanut butter, one wash with an egg, and two washes with regular shampoo, I can happily say that Lily's hair is now Vaseline free!  Good thing that wasn't a pain to remove- Ha!!!!

I have always felt lucky that I didn't have any Vaseline or baby powder horror stories to tell when other moms started telling theirs.  Parker and Eden got into things and made lots of messes, but nothing too unusual or hard to clean up. 
And then came Lily!  Apparently, Lily thought that parenting was too easy for me and has decided over the past few months to give me a run for my money.  She has definitely inherited my stubbornness and Parker's strong will.  And she LOVES chapstick and Vaseline.  She knows exactly where I keep it and I am constantly taking it away from her while she "helps" me get ready in the mornings.  Put the strong will together with the desire for lip products and she will always find a way to get it, no matter where it is hidden, or who is guarding it, or how it is disguised.  (Bonus points for those of you who can name that children's book!)

Tonight as I was cooking dinner, I felt her tugging on my pants.  I looked down and at first glance, she just looked wet.  She also loves to play in water so I thought she had been in my bathtub...again.  As I looked closer, I realized the "water" was slick and oily, which could only mean one thing...Vaseline!  I immediately picked her up and did what any good blogging mom would do- I called for Cory to bring me the camera!  What good is a mess like this if I don't get a picture of it to embarrass her with in a few years!
         Look at that mess- especially the big glob above her left eyebrow!!
Check out the glistening globs on her hands!!
And yet another huge glob on the right side...oh my!
How can you be mad at this sweet face, Mommy?!?!?
I had no idea where to even start, but with a little help from my best friend Google, I used my Dawn dish soap and washed her hair 5 times.  It helped a little bit but it's still pretty greasy and matted.  Maybe if I wash it 5 times a day for a few more days, it will finally come out!
I can now say that I have one of "those" stories.  I guess with three kids, it was bound to happen!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Swim Lessons

We just finished up two weeks of swim lessons with Miss Jenny.  Miss Jenny has been our swim teacher for the past three years.  I call her our swimming miracle worker.  I don't know what she does, but she has been able to get both of my fearful, crying children to successfully swim in just a few days.  Amazing!
Parker is a fish and is swimming wonderfully.  He was already swimming great after the past two summer's lessons so this year Jenny really worked on improving his strokes and started teaching him the backstroke. 
Eden started the first week crying at the beginning of each lesson (just like Parker when he was three) but by the second week, she was loving it too!  She had a major breakthrough on Monday and can now swim on her own from the steps to Miss Jenny who is several feet away.  She is so proud of herself and can't wait to try it again and again. 
They always started each lesson practicing their kicks across the pool.
Then they worked on swimming to Miss Jenny.  (Parker and Eden usually swam with Jenny alone but yesterday, due to trying to make up some time that we missed because of rain, they swam together.)  Parker usually swims in the deep end and can now swim the entire length of the pool without stopping. 
Next, they practiced diving down to get toys from either the steps (Eden) or off the bottom of the pool (Parker).
Parker has also been working on diving into the pool.  He still needs some practice on straightening out his legs!
Eden is terrified to jump into the pool but with Miss Jenny's help, was able to overcome her fears a little bit. 
Parker really worked on his backstroke but still can't seem to put it all together yet.  We will definitely keep practicing over the summer.  Maybe by August he'll figure it out!
Eden didn't learn the backstroke, but did practice floating on her back.
I'll leave you with a video of Eden swimming to Miss Jenny.  I am so proud of the progress both she and Parker have made this summer and am so thankful to Miss Jenny for all she did to help them improve their swimming skills.  Now if I can just convince Eden that she can swim like this in Granna's pool without Miss Jenny! 
video

More Parkerisms and Edenisms

It's been a while since I've written down some of the funny things that Parker and Eden have said recently.  Here are a few from Parker:
-We went to the store on Easter Sunday and I pointed out the Easter lilies to the kids.  Parker immediately said, "Where are the Easter Parkers?".  I guess he didn't think it was fair that Lily has a flower named after her and he didn't!

-Cory showed Parker how to do a cannonball into the swimming pool.  Last week he jumped in and yelled, "COTTON BALL!!!!".

And a few from Eden:
-When Eden is finished "reading" a book to herself she says "Amen" instead of "The End".

-Eden loves to be "fatid", which means "naked" in English!

-Here is a conversation that Eden and I had one day while we were running errands together:
Eden- "Where are we going?"
Me- "To the pharmacy."
Eden- "I want carrots at the farmer's seed."
Me- "What?"
Eden- "I want carrots at the farmer's seed."
Me (trying not to laugh)- "Not the farmer's seed... the pharmacy."

-And another conversation while we were shopping together:
Eden- "I want carpet."
Me- (silence) (I had no idea what she was talking about so I politely ignored her in hopes that she'd forget about it)
Eden- "I want carpet."
Me (still not knowing what she meant)- "You want to walk on the carpet?"
Eden- "No, I want carpet shop."
Me- "You want a shopping cart?"
Eden- "Yes!"
Of course!  I can't believe I didn't figure that one out quicker!

Like most kids, Eden loves to read and reread and reread the same book until I am so tired of it that I want to throw it away when she is not looking.  One of her recent favorites is Go, Dog, Go.  She knows it so well that I will pause at the end of every page and let her finish the words.  A few weeks ago, we got to the last page that says "a dog party" and she confidently read "a pog darty".  She was so proud of herself for helping me "read" the story that I didn't have the heart to correct her.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

14th Anniversary

Happy 14th Anniversary to the love of my life!  I'm not sure how Cory has put up with me for so long, but I am so glad he has!!! 

This past year has been a hard one for Cory and me.  We had to make a lot of adjustments in our marriage because of MS.  Learning how to keep our marriage strong despite the threat that MS brings to it has been difficult but has made us so much stronger as a couple.  I truly feel like we are doing better than we have been in years and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us!

Thanks Cory for hanging in there with me this past year.  I am so thankful for your commitment to me and our family.  I love you very much!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of the great dads out there, but especially to my dad, my father-in-law, and Cory.

We had a great day spending time with our dads today.  I tried several times to get a picture of Cory and the kids and this is the best one I got.  Impressive, huh?  Every time I suggested a picture, someone started crying or running away.  Maybe next year I'll be more successful.
We enjoyed taking Papa to breakfast this morning.  Breakfast with our three kids was crazy, as usual.  My biscuits got hijacked by three starving kids so I was forced to eat their cold leftover pancakes, but they loved hanging out with Grandma and Papa so it was worth it.  I tried for another picture after breakfast, but Eden wanted nothing to do with it.  She had no idea I snuck her into this picture.
We spent the afternoon swimming with Granna and Granstan.  By this point, I knew better not to even attempt a picture with all 6 kids and opted instead to use this one from his birthday last month.
Cory and I are so thankful for our dads.  They are both very quiet men who love us unconditionally and have supported us through the good and bad.  We are very lucky to have them in our lives.

I read today that anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a daddy.  I hope that one day, Parker, Eden, and Lily can appreciate just how special their daddy is, how much he loves them, and how much he sacrifices for them.  Since I couldn't get a good picture today, I thought I'd go back to the days that Cory became a daddy to Parker, Eden, and Lily.  Sweet memories for sure!
  Happy Father's Day Daddy, Papa, and Granstan! We love you SOOOOOOOO much!!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I turned 35.

I'm officially in my mid thirties and I have to admit...it's not that bad!  Getting older is something that has never really bothered me.  I am usually the youngest in many of the groups I'm with, so I kind of feel like I'm always just catching up to everyone else. 
Last year, all of our family was out of town on our birthday, so Emily and I celebrated alone.  This year, everyone was here and I think it was one of my best birthday celebrations in a long time.  Hanging out with my family is my absolute favorite thing to do, so when my younger sister suggested all of us going to Joe T. Garcia's for dinner, I was very excited!  Dinner was so good and even though we sat outside, there was enough of a breeze to be comfortable. 
Emily and I are so blessed to have all of these beautiful, healthy kids in our lives.  I remember back to our 29th birthday when we were both desperately wanting to start our families.  I had lost Katelyn the previous September and Emily had suffered a miscarriage in December.  I think it's pretty safe to say that our joy was missing that birthday.  Fast forward 6 years, and now we have an abundance of joy!  I can't imagine my life without Parker, Eden, Lily, Addison, Aubrey, and Ryan.  What a huge blessing they are to our whole family!
After dinner, the kids were getting restless, so we decided to head over to Central Market so they could play while we enjoyed cake and presents.  This year, instead of a traditional cake, we opted for cake balls and they were SO good. 
The kids had so much fun playing, running, and sliding.  None of them were ready to leave, even though it was way past their bedtime. 
A huge thanks to my family for making me feel so special this year!  I had a great time turning 35!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bahamas

Cory and I just got back from an incredible five day vacation to the Bahamas.  My parents were so sweet to watch the kids so that we could have a week to get away from being mommy/daddy and focus on being husband/wife for a few days.  Don't get me wrong, being a mom is one of the greatest joys of my life.  It's something I've wanted for as long as I can remember.  But I truly believe that it is very important to keep our marriage strong so that we can be the best parents to our kids.  

Several months ago, Cory mentioned going to the beach for our anniversary.  He did all of the research and planning and decided on the all inclusive, adult only Sandals resort in the Bahamas.  It was a little more pricey that some of the other resorts, but we quickly discovered that being in an all adult resort was well worth it.  We love our kids but the whole point of going on vacation together was to get away from them.  Our resort catered to couples and we did not see or hear one crying or whining child the entire week! 

We flew out on Monday morning and got to the resort about five o'clock.  We didn't have time to hit the beach but enjoyed a nice Italian dinner before checking out the resort and heading to bed. 
Tuesday morning we slept in until almost 9:30.  I can't remember the last time we did that!  After breakfast, we hung out by the pool for a couple of hours.  I was in heaven.  I was able to read my book without any interruptions- something else that I can't remember doing for quite a while!  I think I could have stayed by the pool until dinner but Cory was a little more restless than me.  Sitting and doing nothing is not something he enjoys and he wanted to get out and explore the island.  Because I am such a perfect wife (Ha! Ha!) I volunteered to go on a snorkeling trip that afternoon.  Unfortunately for Cory, when we went to check in for the trip, it had been cancelled due to not enough people signing up.  We decided to take a boat over to a private island and spent a couple of hours relaxing and reading on the beach.  That night we went to a pub for dinner where I tried Shepherd's Pie for the first time- it was delicious!
On Wednesday, Cory decided to sign up for a scuba diving lesson that lasted most of the morning, which meant more pool time for me!  After lunch at the pizzeria that we discovered on Tuesday, we headed into downtown Nassau to do some shopping.  We got the kids some things at the straw market and then Cory finally found an ice cream parlor.  He had been wanting ice cream the entire trip but couldn't find any at the resort.  It was fun to see what life in the Bahamas really looked like, but the bus trips to/from downtown were not fun!  I was so glad to get back to the comforts of our resort.  We went back to the private island for a nice dinner that night where I randomly met one of my mom's former first grade students who was also there celebrating her anniversary...what a small world!
Thursday morning, Cory went out to scuba dive while I treated myself to a wonderful massage and more time reading/relaxing on the beach.  Unfortunately, Cory got sick on his excursion and did not get to go out on the dive that he was so looking forward to.  After laying by the pool for several hours, we enjoyed a fun hibachi dinner before heading out to the beach for one last swim before we left on Friday morning. 
Cory and I had a great time reconnecting over the past week.  It's always nice to be reminded of how much we enjoy just hanging out together.  He is still my best friend and even with all of the ups and downs that we've experienced over the past 14 years, there is no one else I'd rather be by my side on this journey of life.