Our Second Act

Up until the night before my kids left I was excited.
I was excited for them, and excited to have the week with jeff and time with friends. 
I really did not think about them driving for so long or being so far away from me for so long.  Or the possibilities of what could happen or how much I would miss them.
I basically didnt think of anything.
Until the night before they left. And I went crazy (spoken in a high pitch soft whisper).
My poor in laws and husband.  I was just crying and crying and trying not to cry in front of anyone so I would hide and listen to my kids falling asleep and cry harder.  (Can you even imagine me as an a mom to one of the olympians??! I would be insane! Ugh.)  I usually am very emotionally prepared for stuff that I know is ahead.  I love emotional prep.  Love it.  I cried for hours like a year before Julie actually moved.  I cried for months before I had twins just to prepare for when I had them. I work myself into total messes wayyy too far in advance and then when whatever I am dreading or fearing actually happens, I feel ok.  I had prepared.
This time it just blindsided me all at once.
Sweet Jeff told me we could drive them to Colorado and just stay there and, I almost did it. 
But the next morning, after so much prayer, I had peace.
And actually didn't even cry when they left.
My amazing in laws sent constant texts and pictures the whole week and it was really so much easier than I had thought.  I would get sad sometimes in the mornings, realizing I had a few days to go til I got to see them, but mostly the days were great.
I knew they would have a blast, but I worried that they would get tired or homesick or throw huge fits and wear everyone else out.  I worried that they would get sick or that the other kids wouldn't click with them.  I guess that, beyond their safety, was my biggest fear.
That they would want to play with kids who wouldn't want to play with them.  Or they would want to do something and no one would hear them (highly unlikely considering their over attentive grandparents hear their silent cries) or they would be afraid to speak up.  That they might not feel accepted.  Which I know they are in for in their lives on countless occasions.  And in theory, I want that.  I want them to know what it feels to be on the outside and not fit in because I feel like thats where I found my strength and confidence.  Where I truly learned to lean on Christ.  I learned true empathy- to look for the kids who looked a little out of place because I know exactly what that feels like.  And those are where the real people are.  
But wanting it in theory and thinking it might actually happen to my kids is a different story.
(I want them watch it on an after school special staring dora, saying "can you say friend/amigo" over and over, nodding her huge head and staring at them with her wide ego-centric eyes until they say it back.)
And the other kids are amazing and kind kids.  I knew it wouldn't be because of the kids or the incredible grandparents, but just because they aren't really used to everyone and can get scared and quiet and easily upset.  and I just didnt know what to expect.
Then, on the plane to go get them, jeff asked if I was excited and I bawled like a baby saying, "I don't think I have ever been more excited about anything in my life!" (dramatic?)  Once we got there, my in laws texted saying only Ben was coming to the airport because the girls didn't want to leave everyone else because they were having so.much.fun- and things changed.
It was the craziest, most freeing feeling in the world. 
My kids were doing it.
And, granted, it was the most sheltered, safe, kind environment for them to be in and my fears were unfounded and they were with hugely biased people who of course said they did great, but, REGARDLESS,  they did it.   I have never been so proud.
They are growing up right before my eyes.  And the things I am praying for them are happening.  
Thank you, Lord.
Now I feel like we are all in our Second Act.  You know, our own (very off) broadway play. 
The glimmer of baby stage that I want to pretend hasn't melted away, is actually already gone.  
I really won't pull any more all nighters until I'm helping make dioramas.  I won't change many more diapers.  I am really not at all the source of entertainment anymore.  They create their own fun and I mostly just shuttle them around to it.
I think I will forever mourn the loss of the light pounding of crawling chubby baby legs. And so many hours spent awake when the rest of the world was asleep. Doing mundane but highly important jobs like rinsing/ prepping bottles and relaxing more and more as heavy eyelids became heavier and heavier. 
 I honestly thought there was nothing better than that.  That there was no way that it could get any better.  Easier maybe, but not better.  Its like I closed my eyes for a minute and its here- and its almost like a completely different life.
It is so heartbreaking and so exciting all at the same time.
I feel like we can do anything.
My sentimental side wants to tell my bitter, tired, and fragile baby mama self that it really doesn't last very long.  That even though I could see the days lasting forever but the years flying by before my eyes, that one day I would look into their faces and see kids- without even the tiniest hint of babies.  That once its gone, I can't ever get it back.  To soak up every single moment.  
I knew all of those things and I tried to grasp every moment before it seamlessly slipped from my fingers.  But, I don't think anything prepared me for the moment I realized it was already gone.
The new me wants to tell the tired mom of 2 year old twins and a brand new four year old that a new dawn is coming right around the corner, and your life is about to change.  That there is no need to stress about giving up the paci or worry that they will never sleep- they will.  That one day you will think back and realize the lisp is completely gone. That you will take trips where nothing is worked around naps.  That you will not even contemplate bringing a stroller anywhere except to run.  That you will barely ever carry your kids anymore because they are just so tall.
I would remind myself to hang on tight, because it happens right before your eyes.
Driving home from Colorado and looking back at those big, booster seated kids, watching a movie that wasn't animated, I feel like I finally saw what our lives had been slowly morphing in to.  I just had this overwhelming feeling that the world was our oyster and we could do anything we wanted to.  I don't know exactly what that will look like, but I just want to remember what it felt like the moment I saw the change.  And was open to it. I cant wait to go and see and explore and watch. And, hopefully with a little more awareness of what I am moving on from, I'll learn how to soak it all in.


Cousin Camp

This last week was ridiculous. 
My in laws and their best friends put on a camp for all of their grandkids.
10 kids.
And it was in colorado and my in laws drove my kids the entire way up there for it. 
Thats 16 hours in the car before they even started cousin camp.
They are really just amazing.
Ridiculously amazing.  It just blows me away thinking about it now.
They had so many activities that they did every day- Pirate day, costume parades, trips to the zoo and museum and swimming everyday.  They all had matching shirts and started every day with the pledge and a prayer.
I don't think there is anything that they cant do.
They just had the time of their lives. They all stayed in one house together and got to have like five sleep overs. They rented a bus and called it Gus the Bus.
Avery has referred to Gus a lot since we have been home.  I think even getting to ride together was a thrill.
They just went above and beyond.
We stayed at home and had a fantastic week.
We had planned on going to a house that my entire extended family shares, but realized on our way to the airport that the tickets that we thought were so magically cheap, were actually in august.  So, we had to do some rearranging of plans, and ended up staying home and in dallas for the rest of the time until we flew to denver to pick up the kids and drive us all home.
We woke up without an alarm of kids running in at the crack of dawn, stayed up late watching movies and How I met your Mother, Julie, Katelyn and Lily came to stay with us, I brought back cargo pants, we went to the rangers game, we followed my brother around while he looked at houses, and we did a little mall walking.  It really ended up being fantastic.
Thank you guys so so much Jan and Bob for doing all of it.  It was just beyond my imagination and I know the kids cant even believe it happened to them either!


it's been awhile

I feel like it has been forever since I blogged!
 We have been soaking up every minute of summertime and can't believe how fast it is going by. Today was Ella and McKenna's last day of summer school. I didn't step too much outside of the box and did the exact same thing I made for Ella's teacher last summer. A mason jar full of candy. You really can't go wrong with chewy candy.
Today was also Ella's last day of swim lessons. We took a private lesson that was only 30 minutes long for 4 days. We did it last summer too and it really helped Ella get more comfortable in the water. Then she started all over this summer and was scared to even jump off the side with a life jacket on. We were signed up for lessons earlier this summer but had to cancel because of her tonsil surgery. I am so glad I rescheduled because she can swim all by herself now! It was crazy how fast it happened! Peter, her swim teacher was so great and I just can't believe she learned how to swim in just 4 days. Nothing says thank you like a big bag of swedish fish right?
I have been horrible at taking pictures lately so here are some randoms from my phone. 
These things were so fun! 
My cousin saw them on pinterest and ordered them from here. 

Ella has taken a liking to soccer lately.
I think I am going to sign her up for the fall.
McKenna on the other hand, might not be ready for soccer yet. 

Last weekend was so fun! We went out for our friend Jen's bachelorette party. 
and we were obviously pretty excited.
We went to this really trendy and cool bar in Dallas. We really didn't know what to do at such a cool place. So of course we started our own dance party and got a few looks. It was so fun though! 
We ended the night by taking the limo through the whataburger drive-thru. It was the perfect ending to a perfect and fun night. Thanks again Lena for planning such an amazing night and happy about to get married to Jen! 



There are truly no words to express the loss and sorrow over the senseless killings in Colorado.  We are praying constantly for the victims of that horrendous tragedy.  


The latest

I mean!
This thing is crazy. 
It just blows in with all the heat it can muster and steals time minute by minute.
We are fully taking advantage of it and doing what all the cool kids are doing.
(ok.  I don't know what the cool kids are doing, but I am pretty sure its not making homemade friendship bracelets and giving away vests with patches.  but I could be wrong.)
Here is the latest in no particular order of any kind.

1. patriotic friendship bracelets dating back to the fourth o' july  2. the actual fourth swimming at brooks  3. milk bubbles  4.  islas first sleepover!!  5.  lunch in lubbock.  four kinds of fries with two dipping sauces.  unbelievable!  6.  al and cel  7.  more friendship bracelets.  the gap totally stole my idea  8.  al and I getting ready for our lubbock flight and the coffee that gave her vertigo.  luckily christial wasn't there so i could steal her coffee  9.  charm bracelets that ended up looking like dream catchers.  10.  bingo daubers  11.  bingo mat  12.  sawyer practicing tracing her name over my letters  13.  new short hair!  14.  outdoor spa treatment.  15.  ta da!

30 going on 13

This last weekend we flew to lubbock to surprise celeste for her 30th.
And we came bearing the most cheesy, dorky gifts probably in our history of gift giving.
We really know how to cheese up whatever we are doing.
Cel's sisters called us and told us when the party was and that it was going to be 80's and at a roller skating rink and we were beside ourselves.  We love a party at the roller rink.  Esp 80's.
The weeks leading up we shopped around for various outfits with neon, 80s bands, hyper color and splatter paint.  We also could barely speak to celeste, bc who knew that we could hold in a surprise like this!? 
We flew in on friday and the amazing brittany picked us up (and had fiesta dip at her house when we got there!!!!! She is the most thoughtful person ever. I pretty much ate it all single handedly) and let us hang at her house, crimp our hair and put on tons of purple eye shadow.
Thank you so much brittany for taking us everywhere, feeding us, and hanging out with us!
So, celeste loves merit badges.
Like troop beverly hills style.
She has wanted us to make patches for each other for everything for years.
For my birthday this year she made me a 10+ patch for being friends with her for more than 10 years.
For celeste's birthday we took that idea and, in true us fashion, ran with it.
We each made patches for her at our houses of things that she had done in the past, that she was good at, or that she loved.
Then, we met and put them all together (on a denim vest, no less).
Isn't that what everyone wants for their 30th bday??
Cel's family had told celeste that she was making a family music video 80's style to get her into 80s attire (which they had just done last week to "call me maybe". love the turners so much). She was sending us texts while we were on the way to her own party of what she was wearing and didn't know it!!
Her sisters had the most amazing decor with actual stuff from the 80s that they still had around the attic. Kathy Halbert would have been so proud.
They decorated the most amazing skating rink I have ever been to.  It was full of scooters, kids toys, and a lady with longer hair than I've ever seen on a senior citizen.
Cel's own locker full of 80s gear.
We hid behind those lockers and jumped out after she had seen everyone else, as kind of a final surprise. I think she was pretty shocked.
and maybe cried a little when we whipped out the vest and the card to explain all the patches.
Her sister carly said, "thats what you always wanted!"
I don't think we could have been more excited.
I mean, thats one good looking patch covered denim vest if Ive ever seen one.
(ok. I haven't.)
Then we skated and partied the night away.
Don't her sisters look amazing???
Coach travis.
Even her grandmother went 80's.
The night may have ended with some glamour shots,
and a few kojie pop throughs.
Afterward, we ate our weight in rosas salsa and went back to celestes and slumber partied the night away.
Best birthday ever celeste!! Welcome to the 30's club!! 


jingle bells

Look at all those jingle bells! 
Ella's night time routine has been something we have been working on for some time now. She has always been a night owl just like me. She is also a sleeper just like me too. I'm pretty sure that kid would stay up all night if I let her and then sleep in till noon. Before having McKenna and having any kind of school schedule for Ella, we really didn't have a set bedtime for Ella. We would always try to push for sometime before 10 but it was pretty whatever. When we moved into this house a year ago we put Ella into her big girl bed. She did awesome with it and I was shocked how smoothly it was. Then we started to make the move of a more age appropriate bed time for her. Bob's schedule became more and more crazy and 9 times out of 10 he was in bed before her. Ella would go to sleep at 8-8:30ish no problem BUT Bob or I had to lay down with her till she fell asleep. I don't remember how this cycle started but it would only take her a little bit to fall asleep so we would just think it was easier to just lay down with her rather than fight her about not wanting to go to bed. Then after months of one of us going to lay down with her and then falling asleep ourselves we began to think of a plan B. 
The Good Girl Jars are still a HUGE hit around here but some nights she would give up the jingle bell just to have mom or dad lay down with her. Her reward jar was lacking some jingle…
After our AC drama that ruined McKenna's carpet, we moved McKenna into Ella's room. It was something I never would have even thought about if we hadn't had to move everything out of McKenna's room anyway. When Bob threw the idea out I just laughed. After a few trail runs with a pack and play we made the big move! It has truly been so wonderful and I can't imagine them not sharing a room now. Having McKenna in the same room has made Ella go to sleep all by herself. We lay them down at the same time and they just fall asleep. It still amazes me every night and I love hearing them whisper and giggle together. Ella's reward jar is overflowing with jingle bells now and we are all so proud of her!
It's a tight fit but it works!

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