Monday, February 1, 2016

disneyland

i am not a disney fan. 

listen, we could go into it all, but let's just cut right to the chase: i don't like disney all that much and i DON'T like disneyland really at all. 

but we went a few weeks ago. and you guys, it was awesome. it didn't really start off awesome. ryan and i decided to surprise the children. we told them we'd give them a hint, so i made mickey mouse pancakes for breakfast. i placed the pancakes in front of everyone and they...were silent. 

finally seth said, "i got three pancakes stuck together! thanks, mom."

you're welcome. 

they were by far more excited about the stuffed animals rebecca and i had bought to surprise them. we put them on their seats and told them we'd got them a little company for the drive over. everyone was thrilled, even ava, whose favorite disney character was maximus the horse from rapunzel (i didn't think we'd be able to find one of those, but that disney store sort of has everything). 

first of all, the children were PERFECT (two meltdowns: sarah's right before she fell asleep, which unfortunately occurred in line for pirates of the carribean. she was SO exhausted and a bit delirious, which might explain why she may have been compulsively climbing whatever she could find the entire time.  after the ride, sarah pulled her blankee over her head, curled up on my shoulder and fell promptly to sleep. she slept for the next two hours in the stroller. the second meltdown was kate's, at lunch. she didn't get to sit down next to ryan. it was tragic.) and fun fact about the herms: they love rollercoasters. rebecca rode in front of kate on thunder mountain and said she giggled the entire time. 

highlights: sarah danced with mary poppins, then held her hand and marched around with her. ava went on california screaming' and LOVED it. seth led the pack down splash mountain, kate's favorite ride was space mountain, and sarah charmed an entire three rows of tram by talking to EVERYONE as if she'd been hired by the park itself. to watch that child in front of a crowd is astonishing. not only is she not afraid, but she's engaging and seems to be enjoying herself. could it be, after these three little introverts i got an extrovert?

it was too hectic to take photos, and i brought a camera that was a little too difficult to use. maybe when people get a little older and i don't spend the entire trip with sarah in my arms, i'll be able to take some real photos. we missed soaring over california and the king arthur carousel (rectified slightly by riding the king triton carousel in california adventure), i didn't get a chance to go on space mountain, and we missed out on the dole whips, but sarah's face on it's a small world and seth's face on thunder mountain were worth every moment. 

guys, i might love disneyland now. and maybe even disney. and in two years, i totally want to go again. the kids will be the perfect ages-- no nap needed for sarah and she'll be tall enough to ride all of the rollercoasters. hooray!

here's to disneyland 2018!

 kate on the teacups
 Sarah twirling with mary poppins
 more dancing with mary poppins
 seth admiring some star wars stuff-- there was a lot of both; star wars stuff and admiring
 grandpa chris came along. it was two days before his birthday and it was so, so fun to have him there.
a blurry photo with grandma rebecca. our best shot, if you can believe it. i guess everyone was ready to get home.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

a little mid-assembly realization and how my children's school intimidates me

i am intimidated by my children's school. it is the most overwhelming place of my motherhood. it means that there are lots of things to be done in a timely manner, it means that there are lots of other children, it means that there are lots of other parents.

sometimes i go to the school and i remember that i am behind on certain things and that i need to hurry up and get them done. sometimes i go to school and i remember how much i love my children and that sending them to another place for six hours every day is heartbreaking. sometimes i actually send them off to school and i am overwhelmed with gratitude that i won't be seeing them for six hours. sometimes i go to school and i worry that i'm not parenting properly and that all of these other parents are walking around doing it right and wondering what's wrong with me. sometimes i go to school all worked up over some seemingly endless and ridiculous school drama (there seems to be an awful lot of drama) and i am greeted by the wonderful office staff and i realize that there are always ridiculous people and there are always helpful and loving people, too, and i need to focus on them.

sometimes all of this uncertainty swirls around and leaves me swearing off public school. sometimes i look into private schools we cannot afford, sometimes i do a little research into homeschooling.

it's weird to be a grown up, to have "arrived" and yet to still be plagued. to stand in the middle of the school quad and to be surrounded on all sides by mothers pushing strollers, discussing things with coffee mugs in their hands, to have sunglasses pushed to their foreheads, to be chasing toddlers, hurrying along slow children, asking them if they remembered their homework, lunch, sweatshirt, snack, class project, and on and on and on...

one of the strangest experiences i have on a regular basis is every morning when i prepare lunches. it requires a certain level of preparedness: you can't just send anything to school for lunch, and you need specific containers to store it all in properly. if you send yogurt you must send a spoon and it needs to be a spoon you don't care about because you just might never see that spoon again. and if you send something hot you need a thermos or else it'll be cold-- or worse, lukewarm, when your child sits down to eat it. when i was a child my mom packed me a container of applesauce and a container of cottage cheese EVERYDAY and i would open them up and mix them together before i ate them. seriously. what was wrong with me. and now i stand at the counter, or stare into the fridge every morning, wondering what the heck i'm going to pack these children today, just like my mom. it's usually a sandwich. and a fruit. and a vegetable. and a yogurt, if sarah hasn't mysteriously diminished our supply. i feel like my mom, which makes me feel like a mom, which isn't something i necessarily feel every moment. mostly i feel like myself and these are my children, but at that counter every morning, spreading mayonnaise or peanut butter, i am a mom, and it's surreal.

shouldn't being an adult feel like something i've got a handle on a little better? shouldn't i be more confident, or self aware, or competent at this point?

yesterday ava received an award for excellence at the morning assembly. we began with the pledge of allegiance, but then the children recited the school pledge:

i pledge today
to have the courage
to do what's right.

i promise to be responsible
for my actions and my words.

i'll respect myself
and my peers and authority.
i'll always do my best
and never settle for less

i will take time to be
friendly, giving and caring.

i am here to learn all i can,
to try my best and be all i am.

as the children recited those words and as i read them, it struck me that there are a lot of things i need to let go of, and maybe that's what being an adult is-- being mature enough to handle the art of letting go. i think i'd like to add to this pledge. as adults, it's mostly our job to give the children the tools towards living good lives but it's up to them to use them. and maybe i'm a little late to this little mid-assembly realization, but i think i'd like to add something ago this pledge about acceptance. because once all is said and done, once the lunches have been made and the homework has been turned in, when the children have gone to school and have been picked up, and are now tucked into bed and fast asleep, there has to be a moment of accepting the day and resolving to make the next one a little bit better. 

starting with making the lunches, of course. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

dancing princesses

i prepared dinner, they danced, so i stopped preparations for some photos. these two love dancing. i love them.





 this is sarah's dance and singing face. it is a favorite.


january beach day

i had a photoshoot on the beach (heather and rick's maternity session...link to the photoblog soon). so the whole family came. we were a bit afraid of cold, but it was perfect. beautiful. peaceful. and, at the very end, very rainy, but rain on the ocean is a really beautiful thing. the tide was low and there were lots of rocks to climb and animals to find (and poke). it was a good day.








































Monday, January 11, 2016

sleeping sarah



sarah turned two at the beginning of october. that was only three months ago.
in the last little while we've been dealing with a sarah who's not all that interested in napping. that's kind of understandable; she sits in her bed all by herself and we all sit out in the other room and play or visit or worse: watch a movie. and we do these things without her. once she figured out how to climb out of her crib there was no stopping her. i'd put her down for a nap, she'd play for a minute then climb right out and appear at my elbow as i did the dishes or read a book. 

"SURPRISE!" she'd shout, her hands pressed to her cheeks. "i surprise you." she 'd explain, climbing into my lap, or tugging at the hem of my shirt. "hold me. read me a book." 

this would all be fine and great, but for the simple fact that sarah is tired by noon, exhausted by three, and out of her mind by five. and at three i have two extra children to attend to (drive to activities! assist with homework!) and at five i have dinner to make and a house to pick up. and there's sarah, seriously losing it and doing so with some of the best stalking (of me) i've ever seen. i sneak outside for a quick phone call? she pops out of the bushes, simultaneously weeping and shouting in rage and also barely able to stand up because she's so tired. so, still on the phone, i run from her. sometimes i dodge and weave, sometimes i throw things behind me hoping she'll be distracted or impeded, but alas, she keeps up pretty well and all of that only serves to make her angrier. by the time i get off she's so mad she can barely exist anymore. i go to the bathroom? you better believe she's by my side, weeping into the toilet bowl, preparing my toilet paper for me. 

the things she cries for: 

"hold you." (translation: i want you to hold me.)

"watch dan-ah-tie-guh-nay-buh-hud." (i want to watch daniel tiger's neighborhood.)

"cereal."

"my blankeeeeeeeeee." (that's when i point out that it's right behind her. because the blanket is never far from sarah)


all of this is sort of manageable. i mean, i know it's a phase, that soon she won't need a nap, we'll all feel the bitter sting of losing our baby, blah blah blah, but last night she fell asleep in the car about 4-ish, on our way home from church. and she didn't wake up until about 5:30. you guys, she needed that nap. lately she's been waking up somewhere in the 6 o'clock hour, which is fine if you are a nap-taker to balance that all out, but since there are not a lot of naps, it's just making her more and more irate. yesterday all of that sleep debt (a concept ryan firmly believes in) had added up to the fact that sarah needed a nap the moment she woke up. she was practically jumping out of her skin with exhaustion at 6:30 in the morning. so she naps late, wakes up late, and at eight o'clock, i put her to bed. she pops right up, using her "surprise!" routine, and proceeds to plops herself right down beside me on the couch and do a little coloring in my calendar. then she gets out some stickers. then she talks my ear off. then she snuggles up and tells me how much she loves me, patting my cheeks, kissing me, snuggling her little head in to my neck, hugging me tightly. then i put her back to bed. and she pops right back up. then i put her back to bed. then, as i head to bed, she pops right out of her room, blanket in hand, and asks, "is it morning?"

oh. my. gosh.

so when she uses her stealth mode and creeps up to my bedside at 6 am this morning, and shouts, "MOM? CEREAL?" and i jump a mile high and don't respond immediately and she whacks my chest in an attempt to wake me up i mull over the idea of tying her to her bed.

tell me, guys, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being bad and 10 being amazing!), how bad is this idea?


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