My Babies

I’ve had this sitting in my “drafts” section of my posts and just wanted to spread some love on this Thursday.  Those two cartoon graphics may symbolize the party we threw for my little monkeys earlier this month.  I snapped a few photos of them on a warmer day here in the ROC back during Winter break.  I believe it was right before the new year and it was by no means hot — we are talking 45 degrees being “warm” for our Winter.

I just loved seeing them climb and play since it’s mostly a frozen tundra and quite honestly I do not love the cold…but I do do try so hard to get us out and about when we can!

They can both climb high now, barely needing me for much other than knowing I’m there if they think they may fall.  Letting go and watching them grow is so much harder than I thought it would be!

And yet at the same time, seeing them turn into such beautiful human beings is even more rewarding than I ever could have dreamed.  It is a true joy to be their mother and I could not think of a better place to be, when I am with them.

I’m so grateful for healthy, happy and thriving children.  I could not ask for more than that.  They are amazing, and as their mom I know that may sound like bragging, but really I feel so blessed.  They have their sibling moments, but more often than not, they are truly best friends.  My favorite is seeing them cuddled together on the couch or quietly playing a game.  I’ve said before how Joe didn’t have a sister and I didn’t have a brother growing up, so this brother/sister bond just stops us in our tracks as we watch our babies grow.

We will keep teaching them to reach for the stars, to go after their dreams and that anything and everything is possible.  You just can’t quit.

Forever my babies they’ll be.

 

“Someday” isn’t Coming

It’s just absolutely crazy that I was sitting there meal planning in front of the fire with my little family around me, and I just happened to grab my phone to look up some recipes and I saw a friend post about Kobe Bryant.  What was a peaceful and normal Sunday suddenly turned our minds into grief, worry, frustration and determination.  I will be honest and say that I did not follow Basketball, nor did I know much about Kobe and his life.  I didn’t know he had four beautiful daughters and was still married to his stunning wife.  I knew he was a ball player, but I didn’t realize the dedication and determination he put forth to become the best. Of course I know that pro athletes are a special breed and in order to achieve that level of success, well you must sacrifice a lot.  I also did not realize how much my husband looked up to a man such as Kobe Bryant.  To say that it was a somber evening is putting it lightly.  I’m not sure how anyone could have a dry eye after thinking about that horrific crash, with those 9 people and especially him sitting there with his daughter.  I don’t recall which reporter said it best, but heroes aren’t supposed to die.  We are supposed to be able to watch them grow old and live out their lives.  In a sense he just started this next chapter of his life it seems…after retiring from playing basketball he was working with his daughter to help her live out her dreams.  He just had a baby last year.  It all just makes no sense; when I hear this news it just stops me in my tracks because we are not promised tomorrow. So after the tears dry and the day to day routine sinks back in, we are asking ourselves what is that we are going to do?  Nothing changes if nothing changes.

If you wrote out your goals for 2020, do you look at them?  Have you written down action steps to achieve any of them?  Are you pushing yourself a little further than you would in 2019?

What is your why?  What purpose do you have to get up, get out of bed and fight for your day to be better than before?

I know that Joe and I have been hugging the kiddos extra tighter, saying I love you a little more, and though we never take our time for granted, it just seems to hit you a little more when a tragedy like this strikes.  Be in the moment.  Yes, BE IN THE MOMENT.  Enjoy the kiss goodbye.  Look your child in the eyes as you hug her.  Call your mom! Have the coffee date with the friend you keep meaning to see.  Share and spread your love and don’t think twice about it.  Show everyone how much they matter to you, how much you care.

Even something as simple as getting up earlier has been impacted by Kobe.  My alarm goes off and I don’t want to get up out of my warm cozy bed and tip toe down the stairs and feel the cold tile floor on my feet.  But I get to hear my alarm.  I get a whole new day in front of me.  I feel like you can either sit around and complain about how awful life is, how unfair things can be and how miserable you are (aka be a victim) or you can show some respect, grab life by the balls and go after all that you desire.  #sorrynotsorry

If your eyes opened today, you get to choose.  We are not promised tomorrow and we have no idea when our time is up, so instead of worrying about dumb petty stuff (which at the time will not seem dumb or petty) and focus on the bigger picture.  Dream your dream and then lay out your plans and just start.  Do something.  Do it badly.  Don’t worry about being perfect or what you may look like doing it, just go freaking do it.

The time is now.

 

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All things Christmas

It’s total crazy this time of year. Every mom I chat with is (more than) overwhelmed and counting down the days where she can just relax with family, friends and good food!

We’ve been battling a few little sicknesses here and there but nothing major–Thank God!  This little dude is my daily sidekick.  Whether we are working real estate, home, running here there and everywhere, he’s been such a good boy!

I was going to rush through the drive-thru one morning after checking on one of the houses we are renovating and decided nope, I’m going to allow us to get out of the moving vehicle and pause.  I am finding this is helping me not just “get through” this season but “ENJOY” it as well.

His fave from ‘bux is the Ham & Cheese Croissant.

I had to make a return at the mall and tried to do a little more shopping, so we again paused and I let him be little.  Isn’t that what this time of year is all about?  Making memories and letting the little ones just enjoy the beautiful sights?  To a busy person, this tree may just be taking up space, but to Bradley, his whole face lit right up.

Plus he got to ride the train which he always enjoys!

This one has been busy!  She had her holiday performance last weekend and had so much fun!

While she rehearsed, we ran some errands and Bradley was stoked to have Daddy around.

They danced to Frosty the Snowman and all proceeds went to the Wilmot Cancer Society here in Rochester.

Even Ana & Elsa were there!  I had to admit, I totally cried when the girls were dancing on stage.  This is Brooke’s first year in “competition” classes and often times in my head, since she is no longer a baby, I feel like she’s just big.  And then I watch all the other dancers from ages 7-17 and I realize how little she still is.  These girls did so great and I love being aware of how much time we still have until she’s off and running into this big world.

Then later that evening we decided to attend a White Elephant party about an hour away.  I quickly re-heated some leftovers and called everyone to the table to eat a quick dinner before making the trek.  Long and short, I dropped my iPhone IN THE FREAKING TOILET!!! Mind you, it didn’t just drop for a second, it literally sat there for 20ish minutes while we ate, I finished getting ready and then decided to look for it.  I didn’t have much time to do very much about it because we had to get going to the party and it was snowing and the roads were horrendous.

It worked for awhile so I did snap a few photos at the party…

As for the White Elephant gift exchange, it was so fun!! We got a nice bottle of Baileys that came with two cute mugs (mine & yours they said!) and I opened a $20 Applebees gift card, but then switched with a girl who got a $25 Starbucks card.  I was more than excited–no pics from that though because, well said phone was in rice.

But then it stopped.  It just went blank and kept showing the Apple logo.  It was basically the joke of the night, we put it in a bag of rice and everyone kept checking on it.

Part of my secretly wanted it to die—I often feel tethered to the damn thing and would love to go back in time and have more freedom from it.  But also on the flip side, we take so many photos of the kids and I use it for our business. I don’t know what I’d do.

By  Sunday it was working fine and though the lens fogged up, we set it on the mantle above the fire place and it seemed to have dried out.

A Christmas Miracle I tell ya!!  It’s an iPhone X and works perfectly fine (unless it gets dropped in the toilet.) Super grateful I don’t need to spend the money on that right now.

In other news, the Elf has been keeping the kids on their toes all month long!

He also likes to treat them to little things like cocoa and books from time to time.  Again, it’s about the magic of the season.  I don’t get why so many people hate on the elf.  Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart, but there’s nothing better than hearing the squeals every morning of where Buddy may be.

This one is so funny.  I caught him just staring out the door the other morning watching the snow.

The wonder of being 4, almost 5.

I pressed pause yesterday to sip on a decaf Chai latté and look at the tree while I looked up some yummy Christmas Day Brunch ideas.  I want to make all the things!

I’ve still got some shopping left, I’m about 80% done.  I need to do 100% in the wrapping department and of course we have school holiday parties and performances to attend, on top of life things like annual Dr appointments.

But I keep telling myself it will all get done, it always does.  No sense in stressing over everything.  Just keep plugging away and be sure to pause and enjoy the moments.  I am doing such a great job of it this year because years past it all went by in a blur and I was so stressed and so mad that I didn’t feel like I enjoyed anything because I just rushed from one thing to another.

I’ll say that there’s more laundry piling up than usual, the dog fur needs to get vacuumed (again) and I don’t have a “meal plan” for this week. #oops But you just do what you can do and let it go.  I do however have a great plan for our Christmas Brunch. Would you like a blog post on that?

One week from today, Christmas will be over and I am going to stay in my PJs all day with my kids and just enjoy the peace (and probably more mess) of this beautiful holiday.

 

Happy December!

It’s only December 1st and we put our tree up today!  I saw this adorable graphic showcasing some of the fun activities to do this time of year.  I won’t be checking off every item on this, but I thought it was a great way to slow down and remember some ways to ENJOY and HAVE FUN instead of being all crazy stressed out.

The kids and I have been dancing and singing to Christmas songs for a few days now!  Usually after their cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows! At 4 & 6, they are seriously at the best ages for getting into the spirit and magic of Christmas.  We host a cookie party every year, so that will be coming up soon! Let me know if you’d like some cookie recipes on the blog.

We won’t be seeing the Rockettes this year, but I do want to take the kids some day.  I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life—how terrible is that?? I’m currently relaxing by the fire while typing this little post.   I just saw that leave cookies for Santa is on there twice—I would probably add/change that we always leave carrots for the reindeer…and they always leave a mess!  The kids still talk about it.

We also love our Elf on the Shelf Buddy, and I enjoy being creative with that.  (Set your alarm on your phone “Move the E” or code words if your kid can read!)  We also love to read holiday books and I make really big efforts to keep the TV off, music on and let the kids just be.  I don’t them to get stressed any more than the daily demands that are already placed on them.

I teared up at dinner last night because it’s all just going by so fast.  It does not seem like 7 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my first born, with a big ole’ pregnant belly and super sore hips.  The babies have turned into toddlers, and preschoolers.  We have an almost second grader and almost Kindergartener.  I still can’t let that sink in…

Life is so beautiful, just be sure to press pause and simmer in the sweet spaces in between ‘being busy.’

These memories will mean so much, to all of us. Enjoy making them!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Holidays can be so wonderful!! I also know that they can be stressful and bring up hard emotions for people as well.  I try to focus on all the good things and stay positive! It’s important to know we are all on this journey of life and none of us really know what tomorrow brings. This holiday season I had so many memories throughout the years pop into my mind.  All great! I think it’s because the kids are getting older and we are way out of the baby season and full throttle into the magic, mystery and wonder that is Christmas, Santa, Rudolph, Elves, Frosty…

I have always loved Christmas and all that comes along with it. It was an interesting month juggling all that I did, but we made it!  Bailey the pup always keeps it extra around these parts.

Now that I survived the hustle and bustle of the week prior, (moms of school aged kids, can I get an AMEN!?) I’ve had a few days to wind down, enjoy some quiet time with my little family, and even watch a Hallmark movie!!

We also decided to change things up and not travel all around on Christmas Day so I’m looking forward to some breakfast casseroles, a day in our pjs and really enjoying the day at home.

Some things that helped me get through the crazy lead up to Christmas…

It’s just a day.  Make it your main goal to make memories of happiness and the true meaning of Christmas.  Don’t try to get to everyone’s house on Christmas day; take time to enjoy different friends and family throughout the week.  People need to understand it’s impossible to e-n-j-o-y if you’re stressed.

Communication. Talk to your family and friends about how to make it less stressful.  Everyone is in a different stage of their lives.  Some of us have little kids, some have grown kids, some are traveling…just talk it through and be open-minded!

Build in down time. We had some unexpected kid free time last weekend and it really helped break up the chaos.  It was so nice to squeeze in extra date nights and alone time for Joe & I!

Let go of expectations. This seems to be a recurring theme in my world.  The more I let go and let God, the better off I am.  I used to try to control everything and have it all in my head exactly how something would play out, only to be mad, disappointed and upset that “it did not go the way I planned.” Newsflash–nothing goes the way you think it should, it goes the way God intends.

Include one or two old traditions, but make new ones too. I stopped putting pressure on myself to try and do a whole bucket list of things.  Reality is, the kids get so much from outside activities, school, and us I don’t have to do it all.  It’s refreshing! I have one thing scheduled for sure on our Christmas break and it’s lots of snuggling time!

Don’t try to be a Pinterest anything…just be present. Don’t get caught up in the illusion of perfect; I’ve talked about it so may times, but seriously. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses.  Don’t compare yourself and try to be something you’re not.  Just do your best and have fun with whatever you chose to spend your time on.

When in doubt, always have an extra bottle of vino on hand! I don’t think this needs much explanation. But seriously, cheers to Christmas and all the fun that awaits!