Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Brenden has become obsessed with the idea of "being bigger." He's anxious to be able to do all the things that we've told him he's not old enough or not big enough to do. If I want him to eat something or to go to bed all I have to do is remind him that he has to eat his veggies and get lots of rest if he wants to be like daddy.

He likes to tell me all the things he'll be able to do when he's bigger. "Mommy, when I get bigger I'll be able to lift heavy things for you." "When I get bigger I can drive the car." "When I get bigger you'll let me drink pop." This morning, we were driving to school and once again, he piped up from the backseat.

"Mommy, when I get bigger I'm gonna be in the Army."

And then my heart skipped a beat. Would I be upset if my son decided to serve his country like his dad, grandpas, uncles, great grandpas, cousins, etc? No. But the idea of where our country could be at that time, what war we could be fighting, scares me to death.

"What would you do in the Army, bud?"

"I'd go to college!"

"That's awesome! What would you do after college?"

"I'd get out of college."

I guess I need to explain the whole purpose of college a little better. 

"What do you want to do when you grow up?"

I thought he'd tell me he wanted to drive a tank, like daddy, or wear Army clothes. 

*whispers* "I'm gonna be the Blue Power Ranger."

And then all was right in the world again.

We're both going to enjoy him being little for as long as possible.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We're Off To See the Wizard!

I don't get much one on one time with Brenden anymore, so when Lauren won tickets to see The Wizard of Oz in Bartlesville on Tuesday (Thank you everyone!) I was excited to take him to his very first musical. We talked about what we would see, how the wicked witch wasn't really wicked, she was just pretending, and that it was like watching a movie with real people.

In the days before the show if he wasn't acting right I would just say "Wizard of Oz..." and he would immediately straighten up. He was just as excited to go as I was! I will admit that I was a little nervous about how he would behave but I figured since the tickets were free and we got fantastic seats that it was worth a shot.

My handsome little man and me.

As soon as we walked in he was ready to find his seat. You would think I was handing him a $100 bill and not just a ticket. Waiting for the ropes to open almost had him jumping out of his shoes. When we finally got settled in, luckily next to some very nice people who did not seem at all concerned about sitting by a 4 year old, he was upset because the show hadn't started. Of course this gave him plenty of time to ask me about every little thing in the theater... "Why do we have assigned seats? Why does that little girl have a wand and I don't? What is up in the ceiling? Where is my wand? Why do the seats move when I stand up? Mommy, I need a wand. When is the show going to start? Where is my costume? I don't think I can watch this without a wand." And on and on...

It only took 5 minutes once the show started before he was hooked. During the very first song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", he looked at me with eyes as big as saucers and said in an awed whisper, "This is my favorite!"

There were a few iffy moments, like when the wicked witch was announced with a bright flash and loud bang (even I was startled!) or when a creepy new character walked on stage. I tried to let him know when something was coming on, like the lion or the tin man, so he wouldn't be surprised, and that helped a lot.

During intermission I had to promise him more than once that no one would take our seats if we got up. He was not ready to go yet! It took one of the nice guys sitting next to us telling him he would save our seats before he would agree to take a bathroom break. The entire way down the hall he skipped and sang, "We're off to see the Wizard! The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!" I could not stop smiling. :)

The show started at 7:30 pm so I knew he would be tired, but he was a trooper. Only once or twice he asked me if I had a pillow so he could lay down and when he said he was ready to go home he admitted it was only because he was scared of the witch.

I'm very happy that we made it through the entire show. He hugged my legs and beamed at me in between clapping and cheering for the actors taking their bows. He excitedly told my parents all about the mean witch and the funny little dog and the tornado and the Wizard and Dorothy and the lion. I never thought he was going to go to sleep!

It was a wonderful night and something I will never forget. I'll definitely be taking him to another play, hopefully soon.

And yes...I did get him that wand...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Cards

Like most parents, we realized very quickly that when we send out Christmas cards, people expect pictures of the kids to be included. One year I sent out a "Top Ten List" as an overview of our year and, while everyone appreciated it, many people told me they shook their letters and checked their envelopes, but couldn't find a single photograph. Since then I've made sure that the kids are front and center for everyone's viewing pleasure.

Unfortunately, that means I either end up spending hours trying to figure out which of the 7000 pictures I took of the kids throughout the year to use or figuring out a way to get new pictures taken that are more recent and holiday themed. Both of these options are difficult because:

1. I find my kids ridiculously cute. (Even if no one else does, although my mommy brain says, "How could that be possible?!) This means it is beyond difficult picking less than 10 pictures of them that I just have to include. Thankfully, Tim is a lot better at narrowing choices down.

2. Even with Tim's help, it takes for-EV-er. I have a lot of important things to do. Like watch Grey's Anatomy. And eat popcorn.

3. If we decide on doing something holiday themed, I have to figure out what clothes they will wear, how they will be posed (hahaha! Like I could ever get them to actually pose.), and find a time when they are both in a decent mood (again...HAHAHAHA).

4. If I can somehow achieve all of those things I then have to figure out a way to simultaneously:

a. Get them both to smile.
b. Get them both to look in the same direction.

(I can hear you laughing at me through my computer screen.) 

I wanted to do something fun for their pictures this year and I asked for advice on Facebook, where I usually go to for inspiration/advice/commiseration. (I have some seriously smart and funny family and friends on there.) My friend Kristen suggested everyone in moving boxes, a sort of Merry Christmas/We Moved card and Tim and I loved that idea. (Thanks, Kristen!) I have a ton of ideas for next year, too! I wish I had had more time to set it all up this year, but I think what I got will work. 

It took awhile, but I finally got a decent picture of both of them together and separately. It took about 50 pictures to get there. Thank goodness for digital cameras! You'll have to wait to see which pictures I chose to use, but please enjoy these not-exactly-card-worthy shots. 

Brenden: Like this? Is this good? Not scary, right?
Lauren: I want out of this box!
Lauren: Hey, I look cute!
Brenden: Not so fast! I'm pulling my "fake laugh" face. Ha. Ha.
Me: Oh yes...perfect.

(No worries, they were fine.) 

I didn't get any individual shots of Lauren, but Brenden is enough of a ham that he let me take a few more of him.

How about no eyes? 
Say, WHAT?
And...we're done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

"Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed.
Cupcakes make it worthwhile."
~Author Unknown

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cloud Watching

A few days ago Brenden begged to go outside, which usually happens roughly every 5 minutes. The weather was warm and Lauren was napping so we grabbed our shoes and headed out.

He happily bounced around on the trampoline, throwing the big bouncy ball to me and laughing at Romeo playing fetch. Eventually he decided to lay on his back and be still for a bit, which is completely uncharacteristic.

"Mommy, come look at the clouds with me. I see Mickey Mouse's shoe!"

There is no way to say no to that.

We found a turtle, a chair, a "mad" face, and even a toilet.

Then, as randomly as he started, Brenden was done. "Let's go inside. I'm hungry." I know someday he'll be too busy to spend a lot of time with me. He's much too outgoing and friendly to want to sit around with his mom once he has more freedom. That's why I'm going to lock that afternoon, along with the other morning, up in my memory. I feel blessed that I have that picture, that feeling, that I shared with my son.

I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You

To all the men and women who have sacrificed for everything that we have, Thank You!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

These are the moments...

When we got home from dropping Brenden off from school this morning, instead of running inside, Lauren ran towards the sidewalk and yelled, "Walk!" After a quick change of shoes, I agreed that a walk would be wonderful.

The air was crisp, but not uncomfortable. The sun was playing with the branches on the trees. Piles of leaves greeted us at every turn. We were both in autumn heaven.

These moments, these images...this is what makes my life wonderful.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


From the beginning, we had a schedule with Brenden. (A bit strict...okay a lot strict, but we're better now!) There was a method to our madness and a goal: a happy baby. He was a good eater, a happy napper and slept through the night at 8 weeks.

Note: I don't think what we did is the end all, be all to raising a child. It won't help any kid sleep better or make a colicky baby happy. It just worked for Brenden and I'm grateful we figured him out.

I thought we would continue that with Lauren since we had such great results the first time around. Of course we didn't take into account the fact that there would be another child in the mix, which can throw even the easiest task into a tailspin.

What I've come to realize is that both of my children respond really well to routine. Brenden's bedtime routine, from the time he was little bitty, always included a book. It has evolved into something he really enjoys and the slightest variation gets a stern look and "Mommmmyyyy...." It consists of, in this order:

Brush his teeth.
Change his clothes.
Read a book in our bed.
Tim picks him up, he grabs at me and pretends to be upset.
He hides under his comforter and then I pretend to not know where he is.
He asks me to sleep with him for "just one minute".
He begs for Tim to come tell him a Power Rangers story. (Tim makes up a different one every night. I am impressed!)

Annnnnd we're done!

It took over a year for us to really establish a good routine that would help Lauren realize that it was time to sleep. It was long after the pacifier went away, well after her 1st birthday, and I'm realizing now that we are super lucky that she ever slept at all! Her's is much shorter than Brenden's - for now - but it makes her happy. It consists of:

Change diaper/clothes.
Put her down on the floor, hand her a cup of milk, and wait for her to sit on her rug.
Read 2 books (must be 2, and at least 1 must be Dora).
Grab her baby and push the hand on her lion that sings.
Dance and sing "Sunflower" by Glen Campbell.
Say goodnight, I love you, and lay her down.

She loves to sing with me and has recently started hugging me tightly, giving me her biggest smile and and planting huge kisses on my cheeks when there is a break in the song. This is my most favorite thing she has ever done...ever. :)

I know that in a few months they could both completely change their minds, hate all of these stories and songs, and spend the entire night kicking the wall. Still, I will always have these moments saved in my mind. Brenden saying, "Snuggle, mommy!" Lauren laughing and then laying her head on my shoulder while she pats my back.

This - these moments of complete happiness - is why having these kids is, and will always be, the most amazing thing I have done with my life.

<3 I love them. <3

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

House Update - 11-1-11

I cannot believe that in less than 20 days our house will be finished. It feels like just yesterday we decided that building a house would be okay and then we went out and found the perfect spot. I'm just...wow.

This was our house today:

The driveway should be done soon!
The kids playing in our bathroom.
Counter tops! 
So very very soon!

Halloween Through the Years

Poor Brenden was sick. We spent the night in the ER. 1st of many ear infections!

Yep, he had 2 costumes. :) 

He loved his cowboy costume!

Lauren's very first Halloween. So fun!

Pistol Pete and our little Dorothy. The best yet. :)

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