Thursday, May 31, 2012

Totally Illegal

That's not yellow CAUTION tape, it's just some festive yellow ribbon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Never ... Well, Maybe

There are a few things that I never thought I would do once I had children. But, as all parents discover, things change once those little people actually arrive. Nowadays it's mainly about survival, so I must admit that my bar of standards has been lowered significantly.

I was never one of those parents who said their kids wouldn't eat sugar. I knew that was just setting myself up for a big, fat failure. But I definitely thought the sweets would be minimal. Turns out, my kids are dessert fiends. We use sweets as bribery to eat veggies and for good behavior. Oh yes, I am that parent who promises my kid a lollipop if he/she makes it through the store without yelling or disobeying. It's mainly for my sanity and I'll sacrifice a few baby teeth cavities for tear-free trips to Target and a mouthful of broccoli. I'm still not sure what my tactic will be once they lose those baby teeth and gain the teeth that matter.

I always thought my kids would share clothes. They're multiples, they're the same sizes, they share. And Luke gets all the hand-me-downs (poor kid). But I never though they'd share (I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this) ... underwear. YES, I ADMIT IT, my children share undergarments! Of course I wash them in between uses, but they are all the same size so there is no way I could tell whose was whose. Some people have suggested different types/colors for different kids but they obviously do not know my children. If I was to assign colors or characters (Peyton gets Cinderella and Adah gets Hello Kitty) they would immediately scream and cry that they wanted the other color/character/brand - "Why can't I wear ____ ??" I am starting to wonder when they will think this is weird and/or gross. I'll have to stop before they start to mention it to their classmates and friends ... they'd be outcasts for life.

I'm not one to let my kids run around naked in public. It's not so much that it makes me uncomfortable as I'm worried that it might make someone else uncomfortable. I'm usually worried about bothering/annoying others, so I never want to be "that mom" who let her nudist colony wanna-be kids run around in the locker room / beach / swimming pool in their birthday suits. My kids don't really run around naked unless we're having a quick change somewhere like in the locker room before swimming. We even usually try and go into a private place so that all of the older women showering and getting ready don't have to watch naked children while they are partially naked themselves. However, I must admit that I do make one nakedness exception: the portable potty we have in our van. I have quickly learned that you never go anywhere with preschoolers without a bathroom within a one minute radius. It has saved us many times. I do not hesitate to whip that baby out onto the asphalt and have my kid drop trou right there in the parking lot. I don't care who sees his butt as long as it means I'm not cleaning poop out of a pair of Spiderman underpants. Nakedness be damned, the red potty wins every time.

What about you? Anything you let your kids do that you swore they would never do? Please let me know that I'm not the only one who's had to lower my expectations!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Then and Now

For my own memory ... first day and last day of school pictures of the 2011-12 year.






Sunday, May 27, 2012

Picture of the Week - May 27

This is the first time in his life that Luke has sat still in one spot for more than two minutes ...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pause, Please

I'm usually not much of a crier.

I tend to keep my emotions bottled up inside, hesitant to let them out. This is one of the many reasons I'm glad I married an attentive husband who knows how to pry me open when he senses something is going on inside of me. I usually just try and power through sad or painful emotions and deal with them in the protective solitude of my own mind (or pillow). I just have never been one to cry, whether it be at happy beginnings or sad endings.

Today, I cried.

And let me just tell you up front that nothing tragic has happened. No one is hurt or ill. No, this was a different type of sadness. You see, I cried on the way home from preschool pick-up. This is the last week of school and we have been enjoying year-end picnics, performances, and fun with friends and teachers. Today was a great day. I took Luke to the doctor for his 3 year old check up and he is doing great: strong, big, and healthy. I then went to preschool for the triplets' year-end picnic. We watched the kids ride bikes, ate lunch and popsicles, laughed, and got to present their awesome teachers with some much deserved gifts and recognition.

So why the crying?

After we packed up the bikes and picnic blankets and got everyone settled and buckled in their car seats, I just couldn't hold it in any more. I cried because it is ending, because it is going too fast. I know my kids are only preschoolers, but they are rapidly maturing before my eyes. Every day it seems they are taller, or smarter, or more independent. I cried because this sweet, precious time with them is like water through a sieve. With each year that passes I know they will be growing further from me and closer to a life of independence, a life of their own. I know I'll still be a part of their lives, I just won't BE their life anymore, not like I am right now, and that makes me ache inside. Don't get me wrong, I want them to grow up into strong and independent individuals ... I just had no idea it would go this fast.

I love my kiddos just the way they are right now. I love their sweet preschool and the great teachers there. I love our church and our small group and the people that make us feel welcome whenever we walk in the door. Life is too good right now, and I want to hit the pause button and feel like this for a long time. But I know that it's impossible. Children grow, people change, relationships sour and soon we will not be in this place anymore. But those times, the times when life's not looking too good, those are the times that teach me to savor times like the one I am in right now. I know that I'm able to be happy now because of hardships and tumult I've faced in the past. Happiness is necessitated through growth and the growing pains that often come with that stretching.

So today, I let loose and cried. I cried because I could see a little curly-haired blond ponytail in my rear view mirror. I cried because, right now, the best part of my son's day was getting to eat a blue popsicle. I cried because the biggest trauma of the morning was a freshly band-aided skinned knee. I cried because all of this will be different in a very short time. Curls will drop, friend's opinions will matter much more than mine, and children will become teenagers and then adults. I am simply trying to savor each moment because I know it will never be this way again ... not next year, not next month, not even next week. I cried because I love my kids, and I've known them less than five years. Just imagine the tears when we've been through ten, fifteen, or twenty years together! Growth hurts, but it is so beautiful at the same time. And I'm willing to make that sacrifice for my kids - I'll trade ya a few growing pains for four budding, beautiful little lives. Just pass me that box of tissues ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Perfect Spring Evening

We're making sure we slow down and enjoy the end of spring while we still have evenings cool enough for walks and hours spent by the fire pit. Too soon it will be sweaty temples, bathing suits, and watermelons every afternoon, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. It's funny how simple things like sunset walks, hydrangeas in bloom, and fire embers can make a day perfect.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Picture of the Week - May 20

I think someone is ready for summer.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Week End Photo Dump

May is always such a busy month. With school and activities ending, it seems we're always rushing to an end-of-the-year something! Here's a few choice pictures that sum up our last week.

We celebrated the littlest man's birthday ...

As well as Mother's Day ...

We found some time to play in between ...

And celebrated the end of the school year with songs and friends ...

Can someone please hit the pause button?!?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

8 Thoughts on 8 Years

1. Eight years together is a long time, but it's also a short time. Confusing, I know. It seems like I blinked and we went from just married kids with a dog to parents with four children. But at the same time, it feels like we've been together forever. Not in a bad way, but in a way where I can't even remember what life was like before we were apart.

2. You just cannot change some habits (whistling), even though you try (leaving drawers open). So you eventually learn to just sigh audibly and fix the problems (putting armrest up in car) yourself.

3. Once the children outnumber you, a new spousal bond emerges. You may have thought you were a team before, but this is different. This is hard core, life and death. It's like Wipe Out meets Family Feud and Al Roker is constantly screaming at you to "Name the most popular response!" while you teeter precariously on the edge of a foam covered platform above a sea of mud and shaving cream. Team Parent may be outnumbered and lose a battle or two, but they WILL win the war.

4. No matter how hard you try, he will not take your fashion advice. Just buy the things you want him to wear yourself. If you have a man who hates shopping, he'll have to wear them because he won't return them himself.

5. I often see kids adults who are the same age we were when we got married and marvel at how young and juvenile they seem, and then I stop and think that we couldn't have been like that ... except I know we were.

6. It's not fair that a man's body doesn't reap the extended "benefits" of pregnancy that the woman's body does. And it's not fair that metabolism decreases as the years of marriage increase.

7. You will never feel more love than when you watch your husband interact and play with your children. It's like watching your heart and soul dancing together and laughing until their sides hurt.

8. Time strengthens bonds, but only if you give in to the struggle. Digging a trench takes time, but if you put your head down, do the work, laugh, and love, before you know it you're in deep enough that nothing can hurt you. DIG DEEP!

Happy 8 year anniversary to the best man I've ever known! I can't wait to dig a few more trenches over the decades to come.

One year anniversary babies adults ...

Monday, May 14, 2012


Here's one of my most favorite Mother's Day gifts from yesterday. Hope everyone had a great day celebrating all the moms, grandmoms, and moms-to-be out there!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Picture of the Week - May 13

The birthday boy and his present opening assistant extraordinaire ...

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Reminder

Most of you guys know Luke, right?

He's number four of our group of banshees. The only singleton baby we have. He's the one who loves excavators, dump trucks, and "fork-liffers." He likes to do things BY HIMSELF! He loves trying to make people laugh. He seeks out hugs and snuggles and is right smack in the middle of what I like to call the they-call-them-the-terrible-two's-just-so-you-won't-be-petrified-by-the-even-more-terrible-three's stage. He is spunk and spit-fire and giggles coiled up inside a warm little Spiderman pajama-clad body.

Luke is so many things to so many people. He's my baby, my baby who will turn 3 years old tomorrow. But more than anything, he serves as my reminder.

God put Luke on this earth to remind me daily that I am not in control. Hear that self?!? YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE! You see, I've had a bit of a hard time accepting that throughout the course of my life. Oh sure, I make my own decisions and try to control the direction I am going, but Luke's daily presence is God's way of gently reminding me that no, I am not the one in control.

You see, Luke's birth was out of my control. His mere existence was out of my control since he was never supposed to exist. We weren't capable of creating him, supposedly.

But God has a funny way of making the impossible, possible. Miracles come in all shapes, forms, and sizes, and this certain miracle came to us in an 8 lb, 7 oz package on May 12, 2009. He wasn't supposed to be able to be here, but he was.

So as I look at Luke and watch him grow, I am constantly reminded that I am not the one who oversees my own life. I must trust God and his plans for me, because they are so, so much greater than the ones I ever foresaw for myself. Luke's presence has taught me to live with purpose, and to follow the One who matters in the process. The One who loved me enough to show me, in the most loving way possible, that I am not in control. I'm so glad He taught me that lesson.

Happy 3 Year Reminder Luke! You will always symbolize the grace, forgiveness, and wonder that my awe-inspiring God gave me in the form of you just a few short years ago. You remind me that reliance on God is not a crutch, but an acceptance of the life He can give both you and me if we turn to Him and love with all of our hearts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Sing Off

I'm all for a little competition.

My husband and I were both college athletes, so competition is part of our DNA. And I knew having four children so close together that there were bound to be races, fights, and competitions over nearly everything.

But this??

This has taken it to a whole 'nother level, folks. I couldn't decide whether to die from embarrassment or wet myself from laughing so hard.

(PS - My kids are the ones in the green tops.)

I guess we've successfully passed on the competitive gene. I'm guessing they'll be smart enough to place our kids in the back next time they perform at church.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Am I Supposed To Do With All These Strawberries?

This weekend we finally decided to hit the strawberry fields. This is one of our favorite picking activities because it's usually fairly quick, it's in the spring so it isn't too hot, and we love strawberries!

The kids had a fabulous time and we were rewarded with lots of cloud cover and a not-yet-raided patch of strawberries.

We ended up with two large flats of strawberries in under half an hour! We love strawberries, but what am I supposed to do with all of them? We froze some, but I'm trying to find ideas on what to do with the ones we haven't frozen. Strawberry pie has already been mentioned ... any other ideas??

We are literally drowning in strawberries ... help!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Picture of the Week - May 6

I'm SO (insert sarcasm here) happy that the field where the triplets play soccer is surrounded by a dirt track. But a certain someone doesn't seem to mind the dirt ...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cowboy Up

Last weekend we took a day trip with the family and some friends to the Lazy 5 Ranch about an hour from our house. We've been meaning to head out there sometime this spring, so I was glad we were finally able to make it there. It wasn't a very spring-like day with highs in the 50's, but I'll take that over the alternative of 85 degrees mixed with the smell of animal excrement. At least colder weather equals a happier nose.

Basically, the Lazy 5 Ranch is the country version of a zoo. It was started by some random guy about 20 years ago with a love for raising and showing people exotic animals. He privately started his own ranch where people would have the opportunity to come to his property and view his animals. It grew pretty rapidly and now is its own full-blown operation. There were several birthday parties on the day we were there, which is the sign from the heavens that you have made it in the ranch world.

We started the day off by walking around the animal exhibits and feeding the animals. I think the kids loved the ranch even more than the zoo because they got to feed and touch most of the animals. We are a hands-on type of crowd. They fed the sheep and the goats and the pigs and the llamas and ...

Why yes, that IS a camel.

Because who doesn't have camels at their petting zoos/ranches?

As you can see, these camels knew what to do when you approached with a bucket of food. They opened wide just begging you to pour the whole bucket in. Here's Sam's reaction to the camel (it's blurry, but too good to pass up) ...

He really wasn't that scared of them, I just don't think he liked being face to face with the millions of strings of saliva stretching across the yawning gap that was the camel's wide open mouth.

Everyone else enjoyed feeding the bigger animals as well.

Peyton's reaction to feeding the camel ...

I know she looks scared, but this photo proves that her shrieks were ones of joy ... promise!

The girls even took some time to make a new friend ...

while also testing out what an alpaca wool sweater may feel like next winter.

After visiting the animals, it was time for what I call the "Jurassic Park" portion of the trip where they loaded us all into horse drawn wagons to see other animals. I just kept waiting for something to go bad and the wagon to tip over while everyone ran off screaming and the T-Rex herd of water buffaloes stampeded us all to death. Dramatic? Yes. But that's how I am when it comes to 8 foot tall walking birds and animals with antlers that could gore me in one swift motion.


Ready to loose some fingers, ma!

Here's the ravenous and food seeking missile otherwise known as crazy stalker ostrich.

Luckily Peyton thought all the pecking was hilarious and didn't seem to mind as I winced with every peck while imagining how hard life would be for her when she only had 3 remaining fingers on her right hand.

Besides the ostrich, I was ok with all the other animals. Some of them were really sweet and the water buffaloes were very docile (and hungry)!

We even got to see giraffes! Unfortunately, they weren't in the mood to eat, which bummed me out. This was actually an animal I would have enjoyed feeding.

Overall, the kids had a really great time. It's nice to have somewhere like this so close and I know they really enjoyed how much they actually got to touch and feed the animals. We will definitely be back, I just may make the kids wear steel-covered gloves (do they make those?) next time. Their fingers will thank me later.