Blasting off into space.

I asked Charlotte if I could take a picture of her blasting off into space. She told me, "Mom, I don't have time for that!"


Paul and I were enjoying a few rare moments watching a show together yesterday evening (Mythbusters if you must know.) It was about nine o'clock.  Suddenly, Ella walked in. This surprised us, since she had been in bed for over an hour.

"Mom, Dad, guess what! I counted to three hundred forty-seven!"

We high fived her, naturally. And in a moment of magnanimous parenthood we invited her to join us for the last few minutes of our show. She was surprisingly attentive and interested in the experiment, which made it that much more fun.

And it is also good to know in the future that counting sheep is probably not the best remedy for sleeplessness for that child.


Snow Day!

Dallas is covered in ice today! So we slept in, lit a fire, braved the wintry landscape, and then warmed back up with hot chocolate.


Jump rope and other stuff

Basically life is good. You can't tell from this picture, but my kids kind of stink at jump rope. This observation is based on me comparing them to all the other homeschooling kids in our group. I'm Charlotte's defense, she was the youngest.  But Ella was most definitely not.

Don't worry, I am not disillusioned. But it did make me think that maybe we should extend our gross motor skills practice beyond nature walks and crazy living room dancing...

Also, I wrote a kind of long post about ice skating last month and somehow it got lost in the cyberspace. But know this, Ella didn't exactly excel at ice skating either. Also know that she spent a solid hour and  a half stinking at ice skating and I honestly couldn't have been more proud. I imagine I would have given up long before that. So proud.

But we could definitely work on gross motor skills....


Dallas Museum of Art

We take monthly field trips to the DMA, where they give an art history lesson and then take you down to their art studio to create in the style of the subject of the day. (Today was ancient Egypt and then we did a hieroglyph inspired project on a 'papyrus' scroll.)

The DMA has the most incredible art exploratory area that we often spend time doing another project afterward. I honestly cannot recommend the museum enough. It is incredible. 

So today at the DMA one of Ella's friends   approached her and they chatted for a minute about their respective projects. And then he asked her, "Do you speak Spanish?"

"Yes," Ella replied, "Hola."

(We have been learning Spanish at home during school time. Yes, homeschooling is awesome. No, she is not even remotely fluent. Her working vocabulary includes: 'Hola', 'Me gusta helado', and 'Si'. Although her comprehension often surprises me.)

Our friend then started speaking to her in rapid Spanish. (His mother is fluent and they speak it in the home.) I was not close enough to catch much of what he said, but he end by asking Ella if she wanted to come over there by his mom to work (on art).

Ella looked at him, then smiled and nodded 'yes'.

Fake it 'til you make it.



You may or may not know this, but Krispy Kreme gives out free donuts once a year if you dress like a pirate.

You also may or may not know that I love donuts.  But if you know me, you probably do know that.  It has been a longstanding love in my life.  I do believe in eating nourishing foods most of the time.  But seriously, an occasional donut is essential in one's path to fulfillment.

I did not know about Krispy Kreme's pirate day until (not kidding) 6:30pm on the day of said promotion.  The reasonable thing to do would have been to just put the kids to bed like any other night.  Bedtime was quickly looming.  I also was babysitting a friend's son.  And Paul was gone at a kickball game (yes, he is on a kickball league).  So really, it was insane to even consider dressing four children and myself up as pirates for free donuts.  But such is the lure of those golden fried pastries that I whipped up costumes for everyone and loaded us in the car and drove forty-five minutes to the nearest Krispy Kreme for free donuts. 

It was actually a really fun night.


Halloween: A History

Five years ago we celebrated our family's inaugural Halloween by dressing our tiny little baby up in a banana costume.  She made an awesome banana. And we were basically as proud as parents can get.  I think we went to the trunk or treat, and, naturally, ate all of the candy we received ourselves.

The next year I bought Ella a cat costume, and forced her to wear it weeks before Halloween so she could practice meow-ing.  True story.

We also ate the vast majority of her candy that year.

Halloween of 2010 was marked by hours of sewing our own coordinating costumes.  I think it was in an effort to save money, since we were in grad school at the time.  I'm pretty sure that the saving money part was a major fail.  Major.  But we looked pretty cute as bugs and a bug-catcher.  (Ella-butterfly, Charlotte-bee, Jess-Ladybug, Paul-bug catcher... he's not big on dressing up, and walking around wearing khaki and carrying a net was the limit of his holiday spirit.)

The next year was really the low point of our Halloween careers. We accepted an adults only dinner invitation for the same night as the ward Trunk or Treat.  I was so overcome with guilt and inability to emotionally commit to the party that I failed to find a babysitter until the day of the party.  Our friends were kind enough to not only take our kids to the Trunk or Treat, but also to their (kids allowed) Halloween party.  The girls were dressed as matching ballerinas.  I don't remember why.  Probably because I already owned tutus.  That was a stellar year.

Last year was the first year our family actually went trick or treating.  (Ella was a dragon, Charlotte was a bear, Max was a dinosaur.)  When we got home, we let the girls eat as much of the candy as they wanted, and then put the rest in the trick or treating bowl, and stuck it on the porch with a sign that said, "Please take the candy".  Even though basically all that was left was the dregs (you know, colored tootsie rolls and bit o honeys) it was all gone by morning.  That was actually a pretty good strategy.  I think we will probably repeat it, or do some variation of it this year.

As you can see, we have a giraffe (Max) and a dancing pig (Charlotte) on the docket for this year.  Ella insisted on being a fairy.  Which is okay, I guess.  I was hoping for one more year of gender neutral costumes, which, in my opinion, are way more interesting (in general, at least).

So we're ready for the mountains of candy that will arrive beginning this weekend.  Bring it on.


Sometimes we get sick.

Runny noses don'y bring us down too much.  We usually just hunker down at home, but otherwise live fairly normal lives.  But vomit is another story.  Our family was recently visited by just such a bug.  As can be expected, it took its time infecting us all, Charlotte started the whole affair by throwing up on Sunday morning, Max's projectile vomiting on Sunday night confirmed that it wasn't "just something she ate".  When Ella got sick on Monday night, I began to lose all hope that I would be spared.  Sure enough, I woke up queasy on Tuesday, but by the grace of God was spared the indignity of actually throwing up.  As flu bugs go, it was pretty mild, and I am grateful for that.  Paul was sick on Tuesday, too, luckily it was relatively mild for him, as well.

The media consumption during such an illness is truly mind-numbing, however.

Ella: "Mom, the show is over!"
Me: "Well, what do you want to do now?"
Ella: "Watch another one?"
Me: "Sure."

Imagine this conversation about twenty times a day.

At one point on Tuesday I insisted that we go outside for some fresh air.  The sun was shining, the weather was beautiful, and I embarked on the walk with high expectations.  I made it all the way to the sidewalk in front of our next door neighbor's house, where I slumped down on the ground for about ten minutes.  After which I announced it was time to go back inside and watch another show.

And so, for a couple of days, we mostly subsisted on the bushel of apples I have sitting in the front entryway waiting to be made into applesauce.  The kids would just wander in there and eat one when they were hungry.  And I would just sit and watch thinking, "I should eat something, but everything sounds gross," never leaving the couch.

Good times.


Bluegrass Festival and Chili Competition

You are looking at an official judge for the Farmers Branch Chili competition this year.  It was really a fun experience, and I was lucky to have two friends join me (not pictured) to help out with the kids while I was judging.

Speaking of judging, please don't judge us for fair food :) I really planned on feeding the kids chili from the competition, but they were out of samples before I finished my judging (judges are not allowed to eat chili before they judge). So... corndogs it was.


How I love this boy.

He is the most affectionate little person I have ever met. And he loves to be in the middle of everything. Any time he sees me and the girls roughhousing on the floor he runs over as fast as he can and throws himself on top of the pile. He loves to laugh and be silly and make us laugh. And he loves loves giving raspberries (blowing on people's tummy). He's pretty good at it, too.  He is just the most delightful little guy and we cannot get enough of him.


First day of school

Sort of. Not really.

But it is our first day of our homeschool group. So I took pictures of us all and pretended it was the first day of school.

But I wasn't organized enough to make cute signs that identify our grade level.



Tooth fairies

Ella lost her first tooth on Sunday! She was thrilled. Paul and I were thrilled. And Paul's parents were actually in town, so they were here when we pulled it out.

Well, we didn't pull really at all. Every time I tried to stick my fingers in her mouth Ella would shut it. Finally it just wiggled out.

We did forget to put money under her pillow that night. I felt like such a jerk. But Paul covered and said that sometimes the tooth fairy came during breakfast. And we had a nice time thinking up reasons why she might have been late.


Our new addition

Max loves Lina. Actually we all do. We have been thrilled with our exchange student.

Lina has been here for almost two weeks now. She is from Germany. But I like to call it Deuchland, because, really folks, what gives us the right to just make up a new name for her country!?!

She is seventeen. And she'll be with us until next summer. Paul and I like to think of her as our "practice teenager".



For some summer is coming to an end. But our weather and our school calendar allow our summer to stretch out for a while longer yet. So happy Labor Day.

I am just going to go ahead and keep wearing my metaphorical white pants, though.


Impromptu photo of my Birthday Boy

He walks, he talks, he wrestles. And now he's one! How does this even happen?


Strange but true.

Ella found this stuffed bird at a yard sale. Fell in love. Bought him. And named him Cupcake.


And he's off!

This guy took his first steps this week. Ella and Charlotte actually witnessed it first. They ran to tell me that he took steps all by himself, and truthfully, I wasn't sure exactly what they witnessed. But sure enough, a couple of hours later, he walked a step or two for me.

This is really one of the most fun stages of childhood. Kids learn so much so fast at this age. In addition to walking he has started talking, which is always a nice skill to have. I have lists of Ella's first words lovingly recorded in her baby book. Max will have to make do with a blog post.

He says:
Ella (both Ella and Charlotte are called this.)
Amen (after, and often during a prayer.)
Good (As in, "how are you ?", he answers "good", except it sounds like 'guh')
Tada! (This was his first word. He learned it from Ella, who does alot of magic tricks.)
"Rawr" means animal
"Mwah" means kiss
I count the last two as words because he consistently uses them to convey a concept... But we didn't exactly teach him those.

He does kiss us, frequently and passionately, with his mouth wide open and his tongue sticking out. If Paul and I kiss while I'm holding Max, he insists upon a follow-up kiss with each of us. He is such an affectionate kid. We all just dote on him. Everybody does, actually.  He is such a flirt. He loves to make eye contact with people and then half hide his face while giving them a coy smile. He spends a lot of time waving to strangers, so I get a lot of waves back from random people. Its quite fun. I've never had such a social baby.

And there you have it, folks. The highlight reel for Maxwell J at 11 months. 



All three of my children can successfully pick up a moving potato bug. But, admittedly, I try to keep Max from doing so, since I don't have confidence in his concept of 'being gentle'. Plus, it is only a matter of time before he tries to eat one. He does 'rawr' at them. He is basically the cutest thing ever.

We are buying a house. We close at the beginning of July, and we're pretty excited about it. After six months of searching, it was time.

Yea for habitats.



When asked Nature vs. Nurture, I am a Nature woman all the way. (Or at least most of the way.)

I could write for days about this, but sufficeth to say, I think most of our kids' choices are a reflection on themselves and not their parents.

But on the subject of bugs, I have triumphed over Nature, and taught my children to like bugs. Or, at least I taught Charlotte.  Ella has always liked bugs (Nature again). Charlotte, however, has been known to do the high-pitched squeal of terror when encountering even the most harmless of insects. I have worked very hard to stamp that out, and this is a picture of her and Ella passing a potato bug back and forth. The bug is not visible, so you will just have to trust me on this one.

Mission accomplished.



Ella has started spelling words without help, which has been a fun development. She made me a shopping list today, and I thought I'd share it.

Pees (peas)
Prokulee (broccoli)
Flars (flowers)
Pikshs (peaches)
Snoflaxe (snowflakes)
Hrse (horse)

I like that most of the list is reasonable, and then she snuck in horse at the end. Like being part of a reasonable list legitimizes the request.

Nice try.



Living it up in Brownsville this week. Yep. You read that right. Brownsville.

But, in all seriousness, we are having a lovely time. Exactly what I was looking for in a vacation. With the added bonus of catching glimpses of Mexico every time we drive to or from our hotel.

Yes. We are very close to the border.

But all I wanted in my life was a beach and swimming weather. And this was a win on both counts.

Beach day yesterday. Park, pool, and movie day today. Life is so good.


Summer is here!


We are supposed to have a high of 57F tomorrow. So I guess it depends on how you define 'summer'.

But today is 80F and we are out catching ladybugs and examining ant piles. So no complaints.


Super pumped.

I don't know why I get so excited about my children drawing people. But I do. Charlotte officially draws humans.

Well, human-like figures.

Yay for developmental milestones!


On Mobility.

It has been a long journey for my little guy.  Back in November he started pivoting himself around while laying on his tummy, and not long after that developed the "scoot and roll" where he would combine pivoting and rolling to achieve short distances.  I was sure crawling would soon follow, but month after month after month showed me that I was wrong.

Finally, a month or two ago, he started army crawling, combined with spending long-ish periods of time on his hands and knees.  Now, I thought, crawling is imminent.  But after several weeks of waiting, he then progressed to army crawling to the couch and pulling himself to standing.

By this time, I had pretty much given up on cross-crawling.  But this week he decided to crawl.  The very first crawl I witnessed was last Saturday morning when I got home from an activity and he crawled to greet me.  It was not very far.  But slowly he has improved his technique, and he's getting pretty good.  He still goes back and forth between crawling and army crawling, and sometimes he starts cross-crawling somewhere and gets distracted half-way through and finishes the journey with an army crawl.  It's pretty cute.

So now he's a champ at pulling himself to standing on whatever he can find, and I swear he's trying to stand up without holding on to something, too.  He seems pretty far from accomplishing that goal, but as it turns out, I sort of stink at predicting his developmental milestones, so I guess we'll just wait and see. :)

Photo: Ella and Charlotte at this cool aquarium we went to for a homeschool field trip.



You may have heard of it. We love it. For a few dollars a month, spotify will stream any song you can think of to your mobile device.

This means our children are crazy spoiled, because they can just ask for songs of any theme and I can usually find something. "A horse song, Mom!" (I went through the desert on a horse with no name) You get the picture.

They have also developed their own taste in music. Today Charlotte asked for "Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-ra Ann" (Yes, she used all the syllables.) Ella regularly requests Willie Nelson. And the Mommas and the Papas.

They also request many tunes that drive me nuts. My mom gave me some speech therapy CDs that they LOVE. But I hate.

But I made them a deal a few months ago, that if they would buckle themselves in, I would let them choose the music. And they keep buckling themselves in. And I am just glad to not have to climb back there every time we go somewhere. So I keep up my side of the bargain, too.

P.S. Isn't he the most beautiful baby you've ever seen?

I just love him.


On Tuesday Evening.

Charlotte (holding an oral thermometer, talking to Paul): Can I stick this in your ear? Then I can tell you what time it is. Thanks, Dad. Oh! (reading the thermometer) It's Thursday!



We celebrated the Pagan elements of Easter on Saturday this year. This is a step up (or down, depending on how you look at it) from past years when we have ignored the Easter Bunny altogether.

You might remember that we pretty much ignore Santa too. This has nothing to do with any qualms I have about lying to my children. Just my own personal struggle to merge the sacred and secular in a way that feels comfortable for me.

But I knew this year I wanted to try Easter baskets, and so I have been talking about the Easter Bunny for a while. (Like, a week.) So I thought there might be some 'magical' element to an elusive bunny leaving a trail of jelly beans around our house. It was absolutely a hit, and the girls loved it. But after finding baskets and digging into their candy Ella said, "Thanks for the candy, Mom." So it is safe to say that she doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny either.

Oh well. There's always the tooth fairy!


The great outdoors.

So I have this vivid memory of when I was a kid. I don't know exactly how old I was, but I'm going to guess between seven and ten. And my mom made us go play outside.

Our yard wasn't fenced, we were on a corner lot and basically used the whole neighborhood as our playground. There was a huge pine tree out front that was a favorite spot of mine. And I don't know where or what I was playing on this particular day, but I know that a big dog came roaming around our yard, and so I ran to the front door to go inside. But (not kidding) my mom would not let me in.

Now I don't remember exactly what transpired prior to being banished outside, but I do remember sort of understanding why I had to stay outside. I was aware that when we were told to play outside, it was in some ways a punishment. Or maybe a preemptive measure against some worse punishment. In short, we were driving her crazy.

So there we were, Laurel and I, cast out of our own home, scared out of our wits at this dog. So we did the only thing that made sense. We shut ourselves in between the screen door and the front door (for protection, you know) and screamed and banged on the door with all our might.

I assume she let us in eventually, because I am here today to tell the tale.

I reflected on that day today. I may or may not have been locked in my room at the time. And my children possibly could have been banging on the door, screaming, crying in desperation.

My poor mother.

Why couldn't we just leave her alone?!

All she needed was a few minutes of peace! Just a few minutes!

And so today I laughed. And laughed. And laughed. Because that memory finally makes sense.


Look, Mom!

"I took a picture of your bum!"

"Oh! So you did. Thanks, Ella."

I will have to check an etiquette book. Because, to be honest, I wasn't sure what the polite response was to someone taking a picture of my rear.

In other news, Max can get himself into the sitting position independently. As of 3:30am today. You will go far, son. But not that far if you keep waking up ready to begin a new day at 3:30 every morning. That choice will bring you nothing but broken, exhausted parents.



Paul went to Atlanta this week on business, and before he left, he made a list of things he needed to pack.

Ella asked me to read the list. And I am not gonna lie. I couldn't. His handwriting is awful. But that is really just a side note. She also asked why there were lines crossed through all the words. So I explained the concept and moved on.

Later I was clearing up and found she made her own addition to the list. It was too endearing not to share.


Ice cream cake.

Let me just begin by saying, it was delicious.

I think this is the first time I have purchased an ice cream cake in the history of our marriage.

I made an ice cream cake for Ella's birthday. And I have asked for an ice cream cake for (possibly) all of my birthdays. But, as it turns out, I don't get everything I ask for. And Paul just can't wrap his head around paying twenty five dollars for a dessert.

So I brought up the ice cream cake with Paul prior to the purchase. He was hesitant (at best) about the idea. "Thirty dollars for a cake!" (He always rounds up.) "We could use that thirty dollars and buy a great gift."

"Um, yeah, Paul. Ice cream cake is a really great gift."

Then he took another tack. "You made ice cream cake for Ella, why can't you do that again?"

"It just didn't taste as good," I told him.

"I thought it tasted great!" he countered.

"Paul, you snuck bites of ice cream out of the freezer until all that was left was frozen cake. You didn't like the ice cream cake. You liked the ice cream."

I wouldn't actually say that Paul "gave in". But we did (and by we I mean me) buy an ice cream cake for Charlotte's birthday. And it was amazing. And, in my opinion, worth every penny.


Birthday Parties

My kids have never had a "friend party", this is mostly due to my own laziness-- or my own awareness that I have enough going on in my life that I don't need to add to the chaos by planning a party for toddlers. Either way. :)

But Charlotte has three friends who have birthdays within a week of hers. (Two of them are twins.) So one of my friends decided that we should throw a joint party during one of our playgroups.


All I had to do was show up with balloons and oranges.

It was really fun and low key. And not super memorable. But I recently made the first year I blogged into a book, and going through those posts made me realize that I don't spend much time on the minor events of our life. I do okay on day-to-day and major changes. But birthdays and holidays are usually celebrated with very little pomp, and since I tend to want to write about the things that we do that are interesting, they don't quite make the cut. We celebrate basically like everybody else.

We haven't had our family birthday party, yet. Her actual birthday is Wednesday. So she will get gifts then. And maybe a cake if she is lucky. Or an ice cream cake if she is really lucky.

Ice cream cakes were our family tradition when I was growing up. I have good memories of sneaking into the deep freezer and picking the icing off the leftover cake.


For Lindsay.

Here is Charlotte, in all her glory. The picture is in black and white so the rash around her mouth is less noticeable. Too bad I can't do that in real life. Although coconut oil helps. It seems to be the only thing, though.

Stories. Of my children. That is what Lindsay wants. So I will oblige. Here is a recent happening:

Ella wanted to put on a play for our Family Night activity. It was basically a one man show, with Charlotte doing what she was told at random intervals. Ella is creative to her deepest nature and it is always interesting what she comes up with. This was a rather detailed story about a young mermaid who had various and "wondrous" (Ella's descriptor) adventures. I don't remember all the details, but at one point Ella was telling us about how the little mermaid (no relation to Disney, she has not yet had exposure to that film) always knew her family loved her. "That's nice," I thought. And then Ella goes on, "But not Jesus. Jesus didn't love this little mermaid."

And in my head I am thinking, "What?!? Do I stop her and correct this false doctrine? Where have I gone wrong?! What is she learning in Primary?" Well, I didn't say anything, and the story went on, and the little mermaid seemed not to be very influenced by this fact. So we clapped with gusto at the end of her performance and that has been the end of that. It is interesting to watch her explore her world and the ideas that surround her through play.

Charlotte had a severe meltdown at bedtime last week because Paul made her put on a diaper before bed. And she wanted to be a kitty. And kitties don't wear diapers. "So now I'm not a kitty! [wail]" That kid's logic is rock solid.

Today we went for a space walk. Which was really just like a regular walk, except we pretended we were in space. And everything we saw had the word 'space' in front of it. "Look! A spacebird!" Oh, and we were actually flying instead of walking, which was cool, because Ella used the buttons on her jacket to fly herself around, and Charlotte was a bit bummed her jacket had no buttons, but she just went and pressed the buttons on Ella's jacket, too. Crisis averted.



As some of you know, we are now officially going to be in Dallas long term. And we're happy with that.

Our biggest problem with choosing a permanent home is we have so many people we love scattered all over the country, that there's not one perfect place. But Texas has come as close as we could ever hope since my family has always been here, and Paul's family is here now. Mostly. We're still missing a few key players. :) Plus, our two-plus years here, and three congregations have given us many friends nearby.

So we have started looking for more permanent housing. It is interesting because it is our second time to buy a house, and we haven't actually lived in the house we own for almost four years (we have renters there now). Plus, there is really no rush to move, we are on a month to month contract in our current rental.

But we are so picky! I honestly don't remember having any criteria whatsoever (except price) the first time we bought a house.

Well, the more we look, the pickier we get.
We are blessed to have a Realtor who is just as picky as we are. And not crabby with our long search. Good man.

Our search spans two school districts. And three cities. Well, four cities of you count Addison, where we would love to live but can't actually afford. So three cities.

But I am secretly rooting for the city of Dallas, with its higher taxes and inferior schools. Do you want to know why? I really miss the Dallas Public Library. And backyard chickens are legal in Dallas.

A million factors and it all comes down to chickens and books.


Oh yeah... I have a blog.

We started a homeschool co-op this semester.  A bit premature, you say?  Yes.  Technically Ella will not start "kindergarten" until Fall.  But she is the oldest (by far) in our church playgroup and I was hoping to get her more exposure to older kids.  And me more exposure to homeschooling parents who know what they are doing.  Two weeks in and I am pleased with the results.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.  One of the women I met at co-op (which met last on Valentine's day) mentioned my aversion to the aforementioned holiday.

"Where did you hear I don't like Valentine's day!?" I asked my friend.

"From your blog," she responded.

Oh.  Yeah.  I do have a blog.  And apparently, people actually read it.

But hopefully everyone just plugs the address into their google reader so they don't have to waste time checking to see if I posted every day, which clearly I do not.

And while I am here, would you like an update?

Ella learned how to read.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I forgot (since it has been 26 years since I learned how to read) how long it takes to get good at reading.  She tells people that she can only read 'special' books.  And she is right.  At this time we are pretty much limited to the Bob books and McGuffey's primer and a few other leveled readers.  All in good time, my friend.  Soon we will move on to Frog and Toad and I just cannot wait for that.  I have good memories of early readers.

Charlotte is almost three.  I cannot think of anything else earth-shattering about her development.  But she is still developing.  And she is turning out marvelously.  But I think that about all my kids. (Usually.)  She is at that stage where she has started coming up with unique ideas, instead of parroting the ideas she has heard from us.  "Tell me a story about Jesus when he was in a bad fight," she asked me today.  "Ummmm, Jesus was never in a bad fight, Charlotte."  She has also started calling herself Charlie and introduces herself as such, and will correct us if we introduce her as Charlotte to new people.  I still call her Char, Charlotte, and Charlie in equal amounts.  I think Paul mostly calls her Charlie.  She also knows that her hair is her identifying feature.  I tried to pull her hair into a barrette the other day and she said, "Now I'm not Charlie!"  I'm a little concerned about that, since she is so much more than a head of hair.  But it gets SO MUCH attention.  Working on it.

Max is darling.  Everyone comments on what a happy baby he is.  And he really is very engaging.  He loves 'flirting' with strangers and people around us.  But he is going through a phase where he never wants me to put him down.  Ever.  It's killing my back, since he is now a hefty 23 pounds.  He started trying to crawl several months ago, but he stopped trying and now does a roll-scoot to maneuver around.  Maybe I should get Ella and Charlotte to do some crawl coaching.  

I am tired.  That is my overriding general feeling.  But I am pretty sure that is normal.  Although my mother thinks I should get my thyroid levels checked. 

I am madly in love with my kids, and still routinely like to watch them sleep (when I manage to stay up that late).  But I'm not going to lie, this mother-of-three stuff is not easy.  I think that other people (from comments I sometimes get) think that I'm kind of rocking the whole motherhood thing, and it's probably my fault because I don't complain enough.  (It's funny to type that out.)  I probably only accomplish 20% of my goals.  But I kind of like having unrealistic endeavors, so that number isn't a great representation of what actually gets done from day to day.  Thinking on this more, I might only accomplish 5% of my goals, since I don't actually consider things like, "ensure everyone has a clean bottom after using the bathroom" and "clean up shards of glass" goals.  They are just things that must get done.  We still aren't fluent in mandarin.  And in fact, I still haven't even borrowed mandarin language learning CD's from the library, as I have intended to do for at least a year.  Truly, the house is always a mess. 98% of the time I wish it were cleaner.  I am not exaggerating.  There are so many other things that are more important to me (or that simply must be done) that it just doesn't get the attention it requires to keep up with the whirlwind of three little kids.  The list goes on and on and on.  There are so many things I am not that I wish I were.

That being said.  That is not how I define my life.  I am happy.  Madly in love with my husband.  And regularly enchanted by my children.  I spend my day chasing little girls and coercing them into giving me kisses.  We laugh and play monster games and dance in the living room.  I live a good life.  But it is so so far below perfect.  Seriously, I could write at least three thousand words on how not perfect I am.  

So, this was not even remotely what I intended to write this evening, but the loveliness of my life is really what I focus on in the blog (and really most of the time), and so I hope that you are not playing the comparison game with me.  Because seriously, you would totally win. (Smile.)

Except we would win in the tickles category.  We basically dominate in tickling.


So then Paul says to me...

"I've been seeing all of these advertisements about Valentine's day. Flowers, candy, everywhere!

"When is it?"

I laugh at him.

"No. Really. When is it?"

I laugh again and we get distracted with a conversation about how he's lucky he has a wife who doesn't care, nay outright rejects Valentine's day.

The next night:

"Really, when is Valentine's day?"



We made it down to Houston for the weekend. And it was lovely. I just love my extended family.

Laurel bought a new house and so we celebrated with a house-warming party. It was so fun to see everyone. I wish I could get down there more often. But the four hour drive turns into five or six hours with three littles in the car. And Max is the worst traveller I have ever encountered. Ever. The drive back up to Dallas was one of the best we've had. He only cried for about forty minutes of the trip. Forty. He just hates the car seat. I have learned a lot about keeping the agony at bay by passing him toys whenever I hear a fuss. So every time we pull over (which is more frequently than I would prefer), I collect all the toys and prep for the next leg. It seemed to do the trick until he started getting tired and ready for a nap. Why that child hates to sleep in the car I will never know, but he does. So finally he cried himself to sleep, and we passed the rest I the journey in relative enjoyment.

There was a brief period that everyone (except me) was crying with some intensity. Max was tired. Ella was upset about the audio choices. And I'm actually pretty sure Charlotte just joined in to add to the chaos. Hers was not a face of grief.

Ah well, it passed. And we're home. And we have some new chef's hats and aprons to show for it. Thanks, Grandma. Charlotte likes to run around calling herself a 'cooker girl'. Love that kid.


True Story.

So, a local community church has this amazing indoor play area with a huge climbing structure thing, and a rock climbing wall, and all sorts of other cool stuff. Including a basketball court. So we were there the other day. And it was basically just my girls running around, so I decide to shoot some hoops. Fun.

Well, some staff members start walking through the area and I start feeling really self conscious, because I don't want them to think in just some random grown up who goes and plays around at a children's play area. And I am thinking to myself, how can I show them that I have kids here?

And then I realize. I have a baby. Strapped to my chest. While I play basketball.

It's obvious I have kids.

Whew. I'm officially not creepy.

Guess who grew a tooth!

This guy. We are so proud. What a guy.