Friday, March 15, 2019

oh. my. words. has moved!

I've moved, and I'm back up and blogging again!  SERIOUSLY this time.  (I know.  How many times can I say "I'm back at it again!).   I'd love to have you come join me at, follow me, and hold me accountable, damn it!   

Not only did my blog move, but we're getting ready to do a REAL move too... we're building a new home!  I hope you'll come on our journey with us!  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

treat her well

Dear World, 

I bequeath to you today one tiny little a crisp new dress...with two big, brown eyes....and a happy laugh that ripples all day long...and a flash of sunskissed brown hair that glitters in the sun when she runs. I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning...and skipping off to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine. Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Good-bye" and walk with little girl steps to the classroom.

Now she'll learn to stand in lines...and wait for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school bells...and deadlines...and she'll learn to giggle...and gossip...and only pay attention when the teacher is watching. She'll learn how to feel hurt inside and she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit in the backyard on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across a crack in the footpath. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed in the morning and lay on the couch engrossed in a much loved childhood show. No, now she'll have to worry about more important grades and which 'cool' skirt to wear and which friends can play with her at recess. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of prams and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her mentor and role model and pal and playmate and mother and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers, which is only right. But no longer will I be the smartest woman in the whole wide world.

Today when that school bell rings for the very first time...she'll learn what it means to be a member of the group...with all its privileges and its disadvantages too. She'll learn that in time proper young ladies do not laugh out loud...or kiss dogs...or keep bugs in jam jars in bedrooms...or even watch ants scurry across cracks in the footpath in the summer. Today she'll learn that all who smile at her are not her true friends. And I'll stand back and watch her start out the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.

So, world, I bequeath to you today, one little a crisp new dress...with two big, brown eyes...and a flash of sunkissed brown hair that glitters in the sunlight when she runs........I trust you'll treat her well.

Monday, September 4, 2017

pug dogs and garbage trucks

Hudson: "Mom, when I grow up and move out, I'm gonna get a Pug dog and send you videos of it."  


Ryan and I are discussing the garbage truck that got stuck in the ditch down the road.  It's midnight. Amelia is asleep between us.  She groggily mumbles "I think I've heard enough of the garbage truck talking".  I ask "you don't want to hear about it anymore?"  She says "no" 


Tomorrow my sweet girl goes off to kindergarten.   To say I'm not ready to let her go is an understatement.  She is SO ready to go... she's been asking about kindergarten since the last day of preschool!  I have joked with her that I'm not letting her go, that she's going to stay home with me one more year, or I'm going to homeschool her.  She tells me"NO mom!  I want to go to kindergarten!"   But I'm just so... sad.   I know I felt so sad about the boys going... but I think I realize now how fast it goes once they're in school.   My days with her are gone.  Gone.   I feel like I should have taken more advantage of it.  Worked less.  Been more spontaneous and taken her to more fun places.  I don't want her to grow up.  I want her to stay sweet, and innocent, and kind and caring and brave.   I'm literally in tears typing this.  I worry about her teacher... will she know how special she is?  Will she love her?  Will she be gentle and kind hearted and nurture my baby's heart and mind?  Will she embrace her ambition and boldness and fearlessness or will she find it a burden?   Will she treat her as if she were her own child?  

Life is just going by so fast right now.   I feel like I'm on this spinning wheel and I can't slow it down.  Summer is gone and I honestly feel like we blinked and it was over.  Did we embrace the days as much as we could?  I don't feel like we did.   Am I embracing these days with my babies as much as I can?  I don't feel like I am, but I feel like I'm trying.  

Slow down, time.   My heart can't take all this.

Monday, May 22, 2017

she's found her words

It took a lot longer for you get start saying words that make any sort of sense.  You took SO long to say mama, and at 15-18 months old you really only had a couple words you would say.   If you were our first child, you'd have a monthly list of words you could say, with phonetic pronunciation.  But, alas, you're our sweet caboose and as always I'm devastatingly behind in documenting life anymore.  I'm sorry, bug.  I love you to pieces and I hope you always know that.  

Somewhere around 18 months you started picking up new words here and there, and around 20-22 months you kind of took off.  In the past month (23-24 months) you have been putting words together.  We first noticed this when we were at the beach for spring break.  You were putting a few words together and saying new words.  It was like a switch flipped.  We always knew you had it in ya, kid!  We adore listening to you talk.  You have the sweetest little voice.  

Poe Poe Poe!: Porter
'Essie (Bessie): Hudson
Sissy: Amelia 
e-fly: butterfly
eeee-plop: flip flops
Lillies: kitties 
Nah nah: her bun bun (bunny) 
fink: drink
Shoe bows: her red sandals with bows
Uhhhh go oussside:  I want to go outside

Words we can understand easily:


I adore hearing her talk!  Her little voice is so precious.  It's also going to be nice to be able to communicate with her... she KNOWS what she wants, but can't always communicate it with us, which ends up with her being frustrated and throwing tantrums.   It's onward and upward from here! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

goodbye airhead week

This week was rough.   I literally felt like I was "off" all week... I couldn't get my shit together, couldn't remember things, was late continuously, and kids kept getting sick randomly.   I'm glad to start a new week over tomorrow.

Let me recap my fun for you:

Well we can go back to the 21st... which I think was kind of the beginning of a 2 week chaos.   We'd just gotten home from NYC and it was Porter's birthday.   Of course I didn't have anything for him to take into school!  Amelia had gymnastics in the morning so the girls and I picked up donuts and cake from the bakery and dropped the donuts off at P's school.  Voila.   We made it to gymnastics, then home for nap.   I know there was something else going on during the day but now I can't remember.   Hudson got home from school, telling me how he got good marks on his daily behavior sheet and then said his teacher wanted to see his new American Girl Boy doll, and I could bring it to the meeting after school.  Meeting? OH SHIT!  The meeting I was supposed to be at an hour ago!  I felt horrible.   We had a quick dinner, cake and sang to Porter, then took the 3 bigs to swimming, Ry dropped off Lou at the pool so he could go to a football board meeting at 7, then I left Porter at the school after swim so he could go to basketball from 8-9, where Ryan would pick him up.  OH MY WORD!   Tuesday, please give me a break!

Fast forward to Thursday... Hudson woke up sick in the middle of the night.  Ryan was heading out of town for the weekend.  I kept him home and he literally laid in bed ALL DAY LONG... just zoned out or sleeping.  Poor kid was miserable.   I oiled him up with Exodus II, Thieves, Oregano and diffused the heck out of his room.   Luckily it was also gorgeous out that day so I was able to air out the house.  I feel like by February, the house is basically a petrie dish of germs from winter.

Friday morning, Porter acted sick and Hudson said he "still felt a little icky tummy"... so I kept them all home.   By 9am I realized... EVERYONE WAS TOTALLY FINE.   Grarrr.   So, my day of running errands and dropping off donations around town and grocery shopping was pretty much shot.
Now for the week of "Nicole is an effing airhead".

Monday:  Work meeting at 10:30am.  Every week.   Right?   Well, I scheduled Amelia's riding lesson at noon, which meant I needed to pick her up at 11:30 from school, meaning I needed to leave home at 11.   GAH.   Then, I forgot her riding boots.   Luckily she had boots on at school so that worked.

Tuesday... uhm.   I think Tuesday was okay.   I remember forgetting something... I've said "I am failing" at least 10 times this week.

Wednesday... I work Wednesdays and had plans to meet Carly at the Chelsea Treehouse at 5.  I have a hard time stopping work when I'm in a "zone" and... well, got into the shower at 3:45 to leave the house at 4:30.  Yeah.  Well, at 4:35 I ask Amelia to get out of my bed (she had "rested" during nap time watching cartoons), and she got up and said "I feel sick!"   Yup.  Burning up.  Spit up phlegm.   I called Carly, who was already on her way.  I feel like the shittiest friend because I never commit to things and when I finally do, I'm freaking late or have to bail!   So, I decided... nope.   I'll leave her home and take the other two.   Of course she bawled and asked why she couldn't go... even though the poor thing felt miserable.

Thursday...  Ryan's birthday.  I'd ordered him some black Ugg boots online.  Well, the Ugg website was out of stock in his size so I checked Amazon.   Got the boots earlier in teh week but didn't look at them.   I went to wrap his present and opened the boot package and realized... these suckers are knock offs!   Plain brown box, no care tags etc.   WHAT THE WHAT.   The quality looked great still, but I was ticked to pay the same price as real Uggs.   So... I wrapped up his knock off boots and figured, we can return them later and order from teh website.

Took Porter to an appointment that afternoon, and then ran home- fed kids leftovers, and went to Hudson's music program at school.   When I got home I realized... I forgot I had planned to meet Katie and Brynn at the clay/potter place!  ACKKK.

(By the way... Hudson did amazing at his program.  Last year he cried at his 2nd grade program, and refused to even go up on stage for his class Poetry day at the local theater.  This year?  He got up on stage with ALL 8 third grade classes and an entire auditorium of parents and families watching.  And he sang!  And he did the motions to the songs!  I was so proud!)

Friday:  Had a meeting with Porter's teacher + counselor + principal.  This was at the same time as Amelia's school pickup so... Ryan went to do pickup.  However, as we were leaving the house, Lulu puked.   I went to the meeting (because... already stood them up once!), and Ryan got Amelia.  Chaos.  Met up with him and grabbed Amelia to take to her riding lesson, then ran home to meet a friend who was coming over to pick up some class supplies.

Saturday.. Basketball game at 9am.   Amelia's friend had a birthday party that afternoon, so I told her we'd head to Target before adn pick out her present (she wouldn't let me get one earlier in teh week without being there to pick it out).   We left home at 12:40... drove by Brynn's house and Amelia says "Mom... everyone is already there!"   I'm like... uhhh... yeah, there are a lot of cars there for a 2:00 party!   I stopped and looked at my texts and sure enough, party is from 12-2!  GAHH!  I spin around run back home, ask Ryan for $20 and put it in a card.  Amelia is bummed she didn't get to pick out a present but I felt so horrible for being late!  Thank goodness they live down the road and Amelia saw the cars in their driveway, or we'd have been chillin' at Target showing up 2 hours late!

So this week has just been... a mess.   I'm ready for a do-over!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


This morning, the girls have ridden their play broom & mop "horses" around the house... galloping and making adorable horse noises.   They've laughed together.  Amelia has called Lulu "sweetie" and showed Lulu how to push her stuffed monkey around the house in a laundry basket.  I hopped in the shower, leaving them and their stick horses to gallop the main floor of the house.   I got out of the shower to find quiet.... I crept up the stairs and found two sweet little girls sitting in Amelia's bed, playing with stuffed animals, kids music on the radio, just chattering to each other (well, Amelia chattering to Lulu).   I adore this.
There are times I just can't believe the way they get along.   The boys weren't like this and the boys rarely get along even now.   I often wonder what I/we did wrong as parents to the boys.   What kept them from bonding as brothers?  What kept them from loving each other?  What created this dislike and resentment in each of their hearts?   *sigh*  I'm going to enjoy every moment of the girls loving each other- its so priceless to me. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

iberostar paraiso beach | day 5

I can't believe we only have 2 days left.   As I walked to breakfast with the 3 littles, I realized I'm glad we didn't do say, a 4-5 day trip.  I am realizing it takes us a good 2 days to really settle into a groove on vacation.  This morning started out chilly so I was thinking a pool day would be out of the question.  

Ryan and Porter left early to snorkel in the ocean.  Porter was in hysterics before they left.  He doesn't want to go at all.  

After breakfast, we went to the pool.  Ryan and porter joined us after they got back to the resort.  Porter refused to dive so he sat on the boat.  Awesome waste of $$.   Amelia was whiny and didn't want to get in the pool so ryan took her to kids club.  We probably should have sent the kids all weekend to kids club.  

-the resort brought around 2 parrots to take pictures with.  So well behaved and gentle! The boys got their pictures taken with them and of course I paid for the overpriced pics. 

Hudson went to kids club around noon.  Both of them had a blast.  They got their faces painted, had lunch with kids club, took a golf cart tram thing to the theater and watched a bit of a movie, rehearsed for the show that night, got ice cream, balloon animals and played at the beach.  What?!   So fun!   Ry and I and the other 2 kids went and showered for dinner then picked a+h up at kids club around 5:30.  

-while Hudson and Amelia were in kids club, ryan went back out for his 2nd dive in the afternoon, and porter Eloise and I hung out at the pool. I grabbed a plate of food from the snack buffet for lunch, and then was able to walk Lulu to sleep in the stroller, and she napped for about an hour while porter and I swam.   The water isn't so bad once you get in and get used to it.  

-Amelia and Hudson were going to be in the show after dinner.  Hudson freaked himself out and ran out from back stage and had all sorts of excuses why he wasn't going to do it. (You won't even watch me.  You are going to sit on your phone (we were passing the time waiting the 15 min for the show to start playing a game on our phones), I don't even know what I'm supposed to do, blah blah.   I explained to him he was using other people as an excuse when he really was just nervous about it and it's okay to just say he's too scared but he needs to admit he's letting fear control him and it's not other people's actions preventing him from doing it.  Ugh. 

-Amelia was a leopard in the show.  It was a circus theme.  They had acrobats (the girls even got on these silk rope things and did tricks- so impressive!!!) and leopards (aka tigers haha) with a ring master, and clowns.  It was such a cute show.  We left after the kids show because Eloise had only had an hour nap and was melting down.  No one else had napped so.... that's definitely necessary to stay for the late show at 9:30!! 

Again, Eloise was up at 5am screaming and being inconsolable.   Ryan and porter had her in their room.   That girl... she's having a rough week. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

iberostar paraiso beach | day 4

-ryan and Porter left early for snorkeling lessons in the pool.  I took the other 3 kids to breakfast at the restaurant near our room, and then we walked to the beach for a bit.  Hudson rebuilt a sand alligators leg, and we swung in the hammocks for a few minutes.  
-we went down to the pool around 10am again- it seems to be the typical time we make it down there.  It was an overcast day and thus a bit chilly, an rarely anyone was at the pool after half an hour or so.

-ryan and Porter's snorkeling lesson went until about 10:45.   The kids didn't last long.  Amelia whined and complained that it was cold, and Eloise was fussy.   They went to get breakfast and I took the other 3 to change and we decided to walk up to the shopping mall and play on the playground. 

-I was in a grumpy mood- a combination of Ry and p's snorkeling taking an hour and a half longer than expected, the kids whining, and feeling like we had a day wasted that was too chilly to go to the pool.  

-the kids had ice cream and played on the playground.  Kept them busy and entertained.  Except Hudson.   Someone always has to be disgruntled.  We can never have 4 kids happy at the same time. 

-nap time.  Everyone took a nap.  Of course it took Eloise an hour to fall asleep.  She only ended up sleeping 45 minutes by the time everyone else woke up.  

-we went to get a quick snack/late lunch by the pool and then took the kids for a really quick for a dip in the pool before dinner 

-we had reservations at the Mexican a La Carte restaurants or dinner.   The kebabs were good.  Tacos very very bland. (Basically tasted like ground beef and a corn tortilla shell.).  Honestly I liked their appetizer buffet better.  Chicken chimichangas were grub.  

-we went to the show after dinner.  There were more kids there this evening.  The show was hilarious.  They dressed the kids up then sent them out on stage in different groups to dance to popular music.  Some of the kids really got into it and it was so funny.  The boys wouldn't participate and Amelia just stood frozen on stage haha!  

-we stayed for the second show (more adult geared) and we all cracked up at it.   It was "the best couple" and they had some hilarious games.  

-we didn't get to bed until after 11.  I'll ignore the fact that Eloise woke up screaming from 3-4am and was inconsolable.   I feel horrible for the people in the rooms around us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

iberostar paraiso beach | day 3

The short version:
Vacation was revived with lots of alcohol all day long and sitting by the side of the pool for 6 hours. Traveling with 4 kids isn’t THAT bad, I guess. 

The long version:
We woke with a renewed sense of…. peace.  Wait.  What am I writing?  Weirdo.   Anyhow… the day started pretty good.   We headed to breakfast and felt confident in our abilities to get around this huge resort.   It’s not really THAT huge once you figure it out but your first or second day it just feels… crazy.  chaotic.    So, breakfast it was.    We had cereal and yogurt and pancakes and french toast and fruit and orange juice.  YUM.   We went back to the room, sunscreened up and then headed to the pool.  

We got the same spot we were in yesterday… perfect.  The boys hit up the swim up bar at 10:05am, just after they opened.  Our friends from Chicago joined us shortly later and we basically drank and swam and relaxed all day.   We think Lulu got sun poisoning… the spots on her back and arms were getting worse as she was out in the sun.   I bought her an overpriced freaking swim shirt from the little shop by the pool.   It worked, though.  

I grabbed a couple plates of food from the little restaurant by the pool/beach and the kids snacked by the pool.  Lulu cracked me up by lounging back, ice cream cone in one hand, hot dog in the other… picking up pieces of noodles off her belly.  Ryan put her in the stroller after she ate and walked her around.  She passed out, and slept in the stroller for a LONG time. 

Amelia told us she secretly peed in the pool.  Awesome.  Though I bet with all the people sitting around the swim up bar, drunk, that many other people drunkenly choose to pee in the pool rather than get out and go to the bathroom. Kind of gross, but likely very true.

The days actually seem kind of short here.   By 5pm its getting shady and the sun is setting.   We went back to the room around 4:30 and everyone showered and got dressed for dinner.   We walked to the shopping mall near the resort and the kids played on the playground and rode the merry go round. I bought an ornament for our vacation, and then we went to dinner.   

We watched the kids show after dinner.   Amelia and Angela (her little friend from Chicago) ran back stage to get in on the show.   I about died laughing when they came out.  Clearly the kids who went to kids club and practiced the dance came out first (all dressed like cats).  They sent out Amelia and Angela (who had no clue what the dance was), out later… they had these huge fuzzy hats on their heads, black body suits and Amelia could barely see through the fuzzy hat.  She looked like a deer in headlights coming out, trying to figure out how to see.   I was dying laughing.   

Our kids can’t hang as long as we can, and were asking to go back to the room to go to bed.  Lame.   But whatever.  Earlier today, Ryan and Porter did a quickie intro to scuba in the pool.  Tomorrow they're doing scuba lessons and going out into the ocean on Monday.   They have an actual hand signal for “shark” so…. uhm.  yeah.  That sounds safe.   


Amelia: mom, what am I allergic to?
Me: nothing
Amelia: I feel like I'm allergic to paper

Amelia:   "Don't pick that plant. It's a confusing plant.  I mean, it's a poison ivy plant.  But it looks really pretty!!"


Sunday, February 5, 2017

iberostar paraiso beach | day 2

The short of it:
-I realized I left my good camera charger and extra battery at home, and that the battery in my camera was almost dead.  
-unsuccessful attempts at locating a universal battery charger for a canon slr left me nearly in tears.  Omg I'm 2 for 2 in crying this vacation. 

-we are figuring out the paths at the resort and it's not as confusing to get from our room building to the restaurants

-reservations at the specialty restaurants was a no-go.  We've been here less than a day and there are zero reservations available except a 9:30pm at the Japanese restaurant.    Looks like we will buffet it all week.  This was A bit disappointing considering you only get 2 reservations for the week.  We will survive after I get over my grumpiness about it. 

-I attempted to Amazon Prime a camera charger and it wouldn't arrive Until the day we leave 

-Eloise was a beast all day.  Tantrums.  Whining.  Being defiant.  Basically, a 180 from her personality.  I wished multiple times today that we'd left her home.  But I'm a weirdo that feels like a "family vacation" with only part of the family isn't right.  I should reconsider.  

-we hung out at the pool most of the day.  Found perfect seats right by a zero entry spot and the swim up bar.  Score!  After a few daiquiris I was in better spirits 

-met a family from Chicago with kiddos the girls' age.  Their daughter is 4 and played with Amelia. 

-bought overpriced pool floaties because my kids had floaty envy of the Chicago kids pool floats 

-the big kids spent most of the morning at the swim up bar with Ryan.  

-we discovered porter knows how to swim doing the back stroke and also swim halfway correctly going forward.  What's that called?  The breast stroke?  I have no idea.  I signed the 3 bigs up for swim lessons last week so this will be good for him!  Amelia is being a fish as usual.  She's swimming underwater, doing flips underwater and all over the 5' deep area.  

-we had lunch at the snack place near the beach.  Afterward we walked down to the beach and it is so much more beautiful than I remember!   It was crowded but oh the water.   So teal and aqua and turquoise! 

-we all went back to the room to rest around 2pm or so.  In addition to Lulus random tantrums and fits, she screamed about taking a nap in the crib.  I'm pretty sure whoever is above and below and next to our room must think we beat children all day.  Believe me I'm tempted to.  

-we think Lulu might have a little bit of sun poisoning.   Maybe this is why she's so cranky.  

-we are dinner at La Plaza.  Same place as breakfast.  (There are 2 buffet restaurants and I think they're pretty much the same). There were wild cats running through the restaurant.  Weird and kind of gross. 

-after dinner we went to the kids show at 8pm.  Amelia went on stage and played the games.  The boys wouldn't budge from their chair.  The audience was basically us.  Haha!   Not sure where the parents were of the kids that were in the show.  Odd.