Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A little sweetness for your Wednesday

We are recouping from a wonderful week away in sunny Arizona. Bennett kicked off the start of non-vacation mode bright and early at 4:45 this morning. Someone is still on Arizona time (as in, neither boy slept or slept in pretty much the entire week). And while I am dying to talk about our trip, I have about 500 pictures to go through....

So I will leave you with this little bit of sweetness. These were from a couple days before we left.

And someone was determined to help daddy clean things up before we took off. That broom probably weighs more than he does, not even kidding.

Isn't he just the cutest little thing....and so, so serious about his sweeping duties. Sometimes I just sit watching him and Cole, and I'm sure I have a weird smirky smile plastered all over my face. I can't help it....they do that to me.

They are just too cute for their own good. Especially toting around their personalized lunch boxes (Can I get a woot woot for the pink, "My Little Pony" lunch box replacement! So far it's been a pretty seamless and unemotional transition....and Bennett was just thrilled to get his own!)

Oh, and the new lunch boxes make snacking at the fish hatchery even more snackably delicious.  love how cozied up next to each other they are.

(And just because I have already been asked about where the lunch boxes are from, I found them at Sarah and Abraham, click on that link and check out all of the adorable personalized things they have available! I'm dying to get some of the personalized plates and bowls for the boys, how sweet is it that you can make them look like each kid? I know Cole would think it was "cool mama" and all that.)

And that there, is part of my daily dose of sweetness.

(Arizona pics and an awesome steak marinade recipe to come soon!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just a snaphot

Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes a picture says a thousand more than I could possibly say. Sometimes, it's just better to leave it at that. I have tried to start this post about 10 different ways, perhaps I'm just tired, or maybe it's writer's block. But regardless I'm going to just follow my heart and let my boy's tell their story. Through snapshots.

Welcome to my daily world. It is not perfect, we deal with mishaps, and make mistakes. But we do know how to love, we know how to play, and we know to be a family.

Sometimes I get more help than I need. I always have a plethora of taste testers, even at a moments notice, they're there with eager smiles and grumbling tummies.

Oh, and those two chairs are always shoved right up next to the counter that I'm working at, usually resulting in one or two casualties. (mostly Bennett, who never pays attention to where the chairs begin and end.....)

( And that is not a result of him somersaulting off one of the chairs, he got into my homemade BBQ sauce and thought it was pretty tasty. Thankfully he some how managed to only get it on his forehead, thus saving his white onesie....we go through the white ones like hot cakes!)

And then there's the moment their daddy catches a glimpse of these two brothers, sitting in chairs that they placed face to face, and were giggling, talking, and laughing like they both understand exactly what the other was saying. While I was able to peek around the corner and catch the few last moments, I missed freezing it on camera. But this, this is the the aftermath. And still, just as sweet.

Side by side is just as good as face to face. Still close enough to sneak in a kiss when needed.

I needed these boys, so so much. Each unique in personality, each completely their own.

And then just like that, Cole was off, and quickly biting it (someone gets his clumsiness from his mother), scraping up his knees, needing "bandons" while little brother just sat and watched, he's so good at that. Especially when watching the one he looks up to so much.

Notice the hands, his new favorite thing to do. He grabs whatever he can, rocks, wads of grass, toys....and keeps them tight in his grasp, despite if he needs to use his hands or not. And somehow he manages.

Such a little punkin head. They both are.

And Bennett, saving the seat for Cole.  Of course. (Or just seeing teetering on the edge, you decide)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter. Eggs.

It just gets better every year, celebrating special days with my boys. Cole is at the age where he gets excited and looks forward to doing things. And I have learned a hard lesson, do not, for any reason tell him days in advance. Because without a doubt, that will be all he asks about, all he asks about, all he asks about.....turned into all he whines about, all he cries about, all he throws fit after fit about.

Hard lesson. Learned. Check.

Regardless of the my bad decision to talk about coloring Easter eggs about, oh, two days to early. We survived, made a mess and then Cole proceeded to ask to color eggs every day there after. (We colored them on Wednesday!) Bennett, just hopped on the for the ride, as usual, and did things his own usual.

He worked those same two eggs over good. Splattered himself with that nasty dye, then did this.

And I'm not sure how you all dye your eggs, but apparently we dig a little deeper. We don't just dye the shell....

That there is the shell, the whites, and the yolk. Go big or go home. Story of Bennett's life.

And just for fun, can you guess who colored what eggs? Seriously, take a crazy, wild guess.....

Two eggs, never had a chance.

Both boys also participated in their first public Easter egg hunt. We met up with one of Kyle's coworkers and family. I honestly had no clue how Cole would do, I knew Bennett would be glued to either Kyle or myself. But Cole was kind of a wild card. And you know what? He did awesome! He ran out there like a champ, considerately picking up as many eggs as he could find.

Yes, yes....those are indeed valentine boxes. I may have actually cried when I realized I didn't have a proper basket to send my boy's out to collect eggs in their very first egg hunt. And then I may have cried harder when Kyle suggested paper bags (which I hear is actually quite normal). I had a freak out, mom-fail moment. But then got over it, when I realized neither boy even seemed to notice that they were carrying around hearts in the midst of so much pastels and wicker.

He also was the sweet big brother that he usually is, and shared some of his freshly picked up eggs with his overly shy and overwhelmed little brother.

And then this is the look Bennett gave when he spotted the Easter bunny, who was creep, creep, creepy.

Honestly, I don't know why they even allowed it, I thought for sure Cole would be back to having his night terrors. I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture, and I scooped that sad face up and distracted him with his eggs.

We then headed over to Kyle's parents house for dinner. And the boys got to partake in yet another egg hunt minus the creepy bunny. Both LOVED it!

A quick disclaimer: We don't usually make track pants our Easter best....but since someone still seems to be in big boy potty denial, those are what we ended up with. Plus, they pair well with heart valentine boxes.

We had such a good Easter and ended the day at the fish hatchery with our dear friends and their three boys. Cole was in heaven to have older boys to run around with and Bennett tried with all his might to keep up. Hopefully we wore them out enough that Cole won't think 5AM is a good time to "Mama, I wake up" tomorrow morning.

Even with all the hustle and bustle around eggs, candy and baskets, we were able to have a sweet little conversation with Cole about why we celebrate Easter. And as he sat there, letting it sink in, all quiet, and thoughtful....then turns and goes, "do bubbles?" And off he went. Such is conversation and life with a three year old.

So we blew bubbles. And we laughed, and I thanked God for His precious gift, that He died so that I can have eternity with Him in Heaven. Oh how I pray one day the true meaning of Easter will actually settle in deeply within their hearts. I cant imagine Heaven without them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Welcome Baby Ellie

Sunday brought something very special. It brought us this little girl, fresh-faced and ready to make her parent's dreams come true.

Sweet girl, did you know that your mama and dadda have dreamed of this day for many, many years? Did you know that there have been hundreds upon thousands of prayers prayed especially for you? Did you know that God knit you perfectly together at just the right moment, and now here you are. As beautiful as ever, more loved than you could ever imagine.

You came into this world reminding us all of the fragility of life, you showed us that you are strong, and a fighter of life. Keep up the good fight little girl, you have a whole life ahead of you.

You made my brother a daddy, and your mama gets to hold her dream come true. You are so loved.

You bring happy tears to so many eyes, because you are nothing short of a miracle. Sweet girl, never forget what you are, who created you, who loved you first.

That you are special.

Welcome to life outside of the womb, welcome to this family wee one. We are so completely happy to finally get to meet you!

Sweet Life.

I will gladly accept any applications for super-woman-potty-trainer, STAT. Seriously, you think I'm kidding. Twenty thousand undies, pajama pants and shorts later, I'm done. The sad thing is, I thought we were already past this point, the point of mom-is-gonna-blow-if-she-has-to-shimmy-her-little-boy-out-of-urine-soaked-undies-one.more.time. We were actually to what I deemed, "fully potty trained" minus the nights and naps. But I hear that is normal for boys, ahem, I also heard that the worst was over.

As of yesterday my darling 3 and a HALF year old no longer uses the potty. Oh, but he potties--lots. I have even broke out the I'll give you 100 jelly beans (whatever it takes) would think my sugar-a-holic would be all over that one. Nope. Although he did barely squeak by with one undie saving moment.

Oh, and my youngest no longer like to go down for naps. And he has ripe pipes for screaming bloody murder when things don't go as he pleases.(which include naps as of late)Which seems to be often these past few days.

Apparently we are not on the best of terms when I try and put him down for his naps...speaking of which, he just woke up and is screaming for me to get him....I just put him down about 20 minutes ago. There goes my plan to try and wean him from his after nap nursing session.

My Bennett, he's a spitfire....he's still upstairs letting me know his disapproval of making him take a nap. As frustrated as I get some days. There are always little moments that smooth my ruffled feathers.


And hours later, I sit here finishing this post. No, Mr. B never went back down for his nap, he bucked and snorted until I finally just gave up. And amazingly what I thought was a day gone sour turned out to be very very sweet.

Well, if you leave out the part where Cole relieved himself in his car seat...for the SECOND TIME this week. Seriously, anyone else have kids that go through a regression after being potty trained for quite some time?!?!

Also, we seem to be in this phase where both boys want what the other boy wants, and the results is something close to the honking chaos of a flock of geese. Guess who is the loudest in his honking.....

Being that my "me" time was cut short, and I was tired of the bickering over tractors and rocks....I handed both boys shovels, found a worm and told them to dig for more. So we dug in our front garden bed, both boys waved to every dog that passed by, Bennett stared at every girl that skated by, and the bickering turned into giggles as dirt flew. A few dirt castles later, I had two dirty little boys who seemed quite pleased with all their "hard work". And I, was one happy mom.

Also, do you know what else makes me happy? Being an Auntie, have I mentioned that we had another sweet little lady join our family a few days early? Oh man, I am in love! As is her adoring mommy and daddy.

She is sooo cute! I am dying to get over there and stare at her face some more.

I love how in the picture below my brother can't stop touching her little head, seriously if any man ever needed a baby, he did. He is amazing with kids! And I think it's safe to say that he is armed and ready to protect that little girl who stole his heart.

So fun to think of all the little feet that will be running around Nana and Papa's house in the coming months and will be even more fun if I don't have to pack 15 spare undies, so Cole, please, please...Puh-lease stop treating the toilet like it's optional. It's not, and remember just because you scolded your "peanut" (his choice of naming) it doesn't make mama forget who actually decided not to take the 10 steps to the bathroom.

P.S. Cole, I love you so much, and to be honest, I was laughing behind my hand when you did your scolding, and I may have thought about caving and giving you a jelly bean just because it was very clever to pass the  blame! But then I glanced to my left and saw my growing mound of potty ridden laundry....

P.P.S. Bennett you are cute, and funny and soooo sweet.....but we would all be a lot happier if you quit screaming and kicking every time we get within inches of your crib. And naps, you need your me on this one.

P.P.P.S. Ellie, welcome to the world pretty girl. Your cousins can't wait to help you play in the dirt and possibly share their trains with you. You are a precious miracle, and the most wonderful gift to your parents. You fulfill years full of prayers, you are a dream come true. 

 Never forget that, you have such purpose and are very loved. We love you so much, and look forward to watching God's great plan unfold for you. Take this new world a day at a time....and in a few months you can help show your new cousin the ropes. 

Ah, life, doesn't get much sweeter. Even after the newness wears off,  instead of froggy legs and cute little squeaks you have squabbling toddlers, stripped off undies, toilets misses, and nap-avoidance gurus... Buuuut, when all is said and done, they are the same sweetness that were placed in your arms, the same blessing, the same answer to prayer. Smooshed in between even the most trying are little treasures, wonderful memories, things to savor. And each moment and stage, even at its hardest is worth it.  Some day these days will pass, and we will be on to the next, and I am convinced that I will look back with nothing less than joy.

Because life is sweet. At every stage.