Bike Rides and Tball Hits!

We decided to sign Parker up for Tball this year.  We’re not exactly a sports family.  What I mean by that is that nobody watches sports or talks about sports, and neither Dan or I went to a college that played a specific sport. Neither one of us or grew up playing sports. Well, Dan played soccer, gymnastics and karate as a kid so I guess those count.  Dan went to Drexel U. a technology college and I went to an art school for college, so neither one of us jumped on the college football wagon or have an aligance to a particular team or sport. So sadly, Parker is at a disadvantage for any kind of sport in our house since he’s never even seen baseball on TV!

I knew Parker would love it though because he has such a positive attitude and an incredible drive and energy. He’s always so positive and loves to play and compete at anything.  Of course, since he’s never played he’s not that great at it.  He doesn’t let it get him down though.  He’s hit a few balls off the T, and last two games hit a piched ball!  He still needs to work on his throw and his outfield behavior (he was throwing his hat in the air and trying to catch it with his head last game), but overall we are proud of him. Who knew being a Mom of a little boy was so much fun?  We’re certainly having fun with this kid and I can’t wait to see how much he grows in this sport.  He’s already asked if he can play in the spring too!  The other day he got up from his nap and asked if he could watch baseball online, and see them drink Gatorade. Ha! He’s so funny!

On Parker’s birthday, I told him that he’s five now, and that I thought we should try riding his bike without training wheels. We’ve tried once before on his big bike, and he was just WAY too unstable. So this time, we decided to take off the training wheels on Mason’s bike since it is smaller and lower to the ground. I worked with him on Sunday a little bit while Dan had a friend over and they were watching a movie and the two youngest were napping. I was EXHUASTED. Parker kept leaning and putting all his weight on me, and I was hunched over trying to keep him upright. He kept wanting to try, even though he kept falling. We probably got a balance of one bike length without him falling, but that was the extent of it. I was a little annoyed because he wasn’t really taking the whole bike riding thing seriously. He would laugh and laugh, and smile and then laugh. In hindsight I guess it’s better than him crying and giving up, but I just kept asking him to BE SERIOUS which is totally NOT Parker’s personality.

I was talking to my neighbor Jenn about advice since she taught her son to ride his bike and the next day was a gorgeous afternoon, and the kids were all playing outside. Jenn and I took turns helping Parker start, and asked him to ride to the other person and JUST LIKE THAT. That was what he needed. A cheering person in front of AND behind him! He started going the longest distance that night, and two days later was riding down the street on his big bike! Such a proud Mama! Dan was impressed too, of course. My boy is growing up!

My first born is FIVE!

This weekend was a great weekend. We celebrated our oldest boy turning five years old! It’s hard to believe that he’s such a big kid now.

I stole these questions from Parker’s Four year old blog post last year. The answers are all different!
1. Who’s your favorite action figure? Darth Vader and Luke Sywalker

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? Construction Worker or Firefighter

4. Where are you going to work? At work (with his hands gestured upwards as if to say “duh”)

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Lego Star Wars

6. What’s your favorite book? The books from the library about baseball

7. What’s your favorite toy? Millinium Falcon

8. Who’s your best friend? Walker and Sawyer, Gavin and Mason and Baily (a girl at school who Parker says is SO BEAUTIFUL) and Logan, and Campen

9. What’s your favorite song? Darth Vader March

10. What’s your favorite food? Sandwiches and cinnamon raisen bagels

The weekend started off great with Parker celebrating his birthday at school on Friday and getting to bring home “Lambie” the class mascot. Parker loved that and really had a great time bringing Lambie everywhere he went all weekend.

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Saturday, party time! The friends arrived on Saturday morning. My brother and nephew Gavin got in the evening before. Gavin is almost eleven, but Parker just ADORES him! Gavin is such a good sport too with all the little kids! I made super easy Star Wars Jedi robes inspired from this post I saw on Pinterest:http://www.birthdayinabox.com/activity-guides/star-wars-party-craft-make-a-jedi-robe.html word to the wise though. Just measure your child for the Jedi/padawan robe before buying the fabric. I went by the 6×2 measurement and it was WAY too big, and had a TON of fabric left over. Super easy and no sew, which was great! I also made little pool noodle light sabers inspired by the taped up noodles on this blog:http://www.cleanandscentsible.com/2013/05/star-wars-party-ideas.html The kids LOVED them, and they had their own personalized noodles with their initials on the bottom to keep track of them.

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This year we had the parents drop off the kids. We did it this way for several reasons. First of all, they’re old enough. They’re all around five, almost five, or older. They really don’t need their parents at a party. Last year when we had Parker’s Super hero party, there were several parents mingling and not watching their kids. No fault of theirs… that’s just what happens at a party, but I just found it harder to keep tabs on the kids with more adults believe it or not. Another reason was that we would be watching a Lego Star Wars movie in the theater room, and it would just get too crowded with all the adults there. The party was a bit long with the movie, games, and lunch so I thought it would be more convenient for the parents not to have to tie up half their Saturday at a birthday party. It ended up working out great with just the kids there. Dan and my brother were both a big help with getting the food ready and setting up the games, as well as helping watch the kids, so that made it easier. Nine little boys and one 2 year old little girl made for a busy morning!

So, it was a big hit! As the kids arrived, we played outside for a little bit (practicing their Jedi light saber skills) and each kid got their jedi/padawan robe. Shortly there after, we went down to the basement with popcorn and drinks in tow and watched Lego Star Wars and a short clip of young Anakin Skywalker flying a little ship in a race. The kids LOVED it.IMG_9960

After that, we went upstairs to the playroom where I had decked the room out in balloons hanging from streamers. I told the kids that it was a “jedi training course” and they just loved it! They waited for the music to come on, which was the Star Wars opening song and the Darth Vader march. Not one kid was shy during this. The were all laughing and hitting balloons. It didn’t take long before they were all knocked down, and then they started hitting the balloons on the floor. Lots of fun with soft materials so no one can get hurt!

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Then we took the cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader outside where everyone got to practice their batting skills by hitting a balloon with their light saber to hit Darth Vader. Super fun! It was a little windy though, so I needed a helper to hold Darth Vader up so he didn’t fall down.

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Dan was busy cooking hotdogs on the grill while we were playing outside. The weather was perfect and the kids had a lot of fun, and ran off a lot of energy! They all came in shortly afterwards and enjoyed a nice hotdog lunch, and then of course there was cake and ice-cream, and singing to my five year old big boy! The cake was from a local bakery called The Crafty Cakery. They did a fantastic job and it was exactly what Parker wanted for the party. Parker loved it! It tasted really good as well, which made everyone happy.  This was a different place than where we got Dan’s cake because the Baker’s man is further away, and admittedly the cake wasn’t as great the last time we had it. We liked trying a new place, and will certainly go with them again!fivebirthday05

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fivebirthday04Afterwards, the kids played some more and the parents trickled in to pick up their kids. They each left with a Jedi Knight Certificate that I found and printed off from here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264093965624328053/ the boys really enjoyed having a certificate for the “Jedi training” they did! So much fun!  Parker got a badge that said Jedi Master on it, and he just LOVED it!

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Every year I say I’m not going to overdo it for parties, but I seem to get carried away with making sure my kids have a great birthday experience. This year was no different, but I also felt like it was a big age. Five is huge! An official kid! Plus, the party decor and ideas for a Star Wars party is just too fun to pass up! I had a great time putting on this party for him, and Parker had a blast having his best buddies over to celebrate with him!

That evening we went on a little mother-son date to dinner and  a movie. We had a great time, and it was a great way to end the day of celebrating our big boy! IMG_9977

No More Babies

I’m sure many of you know the rate of speed our kids are growing, and that we do not in fact have any more babies in our house. Sienna is growing by leaps and bounds, will be two in November, Parker will turn five on Sunday, and Mason is 3, with his birthday in March. Whew!
When you’re in the baby stage, it seems so exhausting and never ending. It’s precious, but so draining and requires SO much of Mommy. I wouldn’t change any of it, It is our family, and I love it. I always dreamed of being a Mommy, and as I look around at my life, and my family, it is exactly what I wanted as a little girl. It’s not always fun, not always without frustration or yelling, not always technology free and full of hugs and kisses, but it’s our family and I’m so thankful for it.

I’ve been focusing on the baby years a lot these last few months because Dan and I made the hard decision to stop having babies, and have Dan get a vasectomy. We came to the decision after several factors. One being that we are happy with the size of our family. I know there are GREAT Mamas out there that can divide their love and attention between three plus kids, but I just know it isn’t for me. I don’t know if the decision is made more evident by the fact that our kids are so close together in age, but right now, it’s pretty challenging on a daily basis to make sure I’m dividing up my attention enough between the three kids. Sienna is very jealous of the brothers, and the boys usually have to call my name several times to get my attention because I’m busy with one of the other kids doing something else. I feel constantly torn, and admittedly my fuse can be short at times with them because of it. I know it’s just the season we’re in right now, but after much prayer and consideration, we know that this is what God has for us. It is what we can handle.
Secondly, we don’t use birth control. I know, I know… I get the raised eyebrows and side slanted head from my OBGYN every visit. It’s just not for us. I don’t like to put hormones into my body, and the copper IUD makes you bleed like you’re dying a slow death, which doesn’t sound fun. There’s also condoms, but seriously… who enjoys those? The “being careful method” (also known as the “pull and pray” method, haha!) just didn’t make for a relaxing experience for me. It always made me SO nervous I was going to accidentally get preggers again!
Also, I’ve been working hard lately on my fitness, getting my body back in shape after having Sienna (almost TWO years ago!), Lymes disease, lower back issues, and just lazy bones syndrome. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, I just never lost it after I had Sienna. I went straight from breastfeeding to being sick, and then never got around to losing it. So yeah, that was another deciding factor. I admittly, selfishly, want my body back after pushing out nine, ten, and eight pound babies within a three year period.
Another reason is Money. I mean, speaking strictly from a practical point of view, of course, we could get by with WAY less. Our kids could share rooms, wear each other’s clothes, wait to get a car until they’re in their 20’s…, the list goes on. But why? I agree that teaching them to get by with less, will allow them to be good shepherds over what they do have. I COMPLETELY agree with not getting them every single thing they want, doing chores and earning money only for EXTRA work around the house instead of just what is expected are all GOOD things, but what about college? What about the inevitable doctor bills or sports and extra circular activities they’ll join, or summer family vacations, etc. Shouldn’t we plan from a practical perspective when planning our family too? I think so. I think that three kids is all we can afford comfortably. For now AND down the road when college and all the other big expenses start creeping in.
Lastly, Dan and I aren’t exactly spring chickens. When I say “Dan and I”, I really mean… just Dan. Haha (sorry honey!). No, but seriously. Dan just turned 40 this year, and I turned 33, which is acceptable child bearing age, but for Dan, he just feels like he’s done (and I do too). I had to have an arm twisting session with him to convince him to have another after the boys. SO SO glad I won that battle (or should I say that GOD won that battle) and that we got our GIRL!

So, yeah. Dan had a vasectomy on Friday. He’s fine. He has some pain of course. The worst part was that they offered no sedation. He had a valium and some lidocaine via local injection. It’s hard when you have three kids and have something done like that. Sienna loves to give hugs and her head is right at crouch level. Ouch! Seriously, though. I’m so thankful that he agreed to do it, especially after all the Crohn’s surgeries he’s had, it’s hard to want to have an ELECTIVE procedure done that he knows will be so painful, but I’m forever grateful that he agreed!

Parker cracks me up with his questions too. In our house, we try to be perfectly honest as much as possible given their age and understanding. This is the conversation I had with Parker after I dropped Dan off at the office for the out patient procedure.

Parker: “Mommy, why are you dropping Daddy off?”

Me: “He’s having a procedure done”

Parker: “I heard Daddy said he was getting a needle in his pee pee”

Me: “Yes, he is. He’s getting it done so we don’t have any more babies”

Parker: “Ouch, that will hurt really bad. Why does he have to get a needle in his Peepee when you’re the one who has the babies?”

Me: “…..Well… When two people are married, you need a Mommy and a Daddy to have a baby”

Parker: “Oh, okay. Where is that park at? Is it really far away? Does it have a slide?”

Whew! Lengthy explanation averted!

So, yeah. No more babies. I bawled the other day. A friend posted a sappy video on FB about a few japanese Moms leaving their child’s one year appointment and their husband’s surprising them with an artwork style display of baby photos of the child’s first year along the walls of the hallway. I just cried like a baby. I cried because it made me realize how fast and quick those baby years really are. I cried because I knew I wouldn’t have another baby of my own to hold. I cried because I wondered if I had enjoyed it enough, savored it enough, documented it enough, loved enough without complaining of how hard it was, or if I was doing it right, or if they were reaching their milestones. I mourned the baby stage. It’s a sweet stage and one that goes by way way too quickly.

For now, I will savor the toddler and childhood stages and dream about whats to come, what we can finally talk about doing now that the kids are older. The fun adventures that await as they grow, makes us excited to look forward to the future. The future of them growing into their own person, and us helping them be the best they can be!

Dan Turns 40!

August is a big birthday month in our house because Dan and I both have August birthdays.  This year however, was especially important, because Dan turns the BIG 4-0! I knew I wanted to plan a party for him, but after asking questions, I decided I didn’t want to make it a surprise.  I just didn’t know enough about the people he works with and would want to invite, and I wanted to make sure that it was something that he really wanted, with the people invited that he wanted, so I made sure he was very involved in the planning.

Knowing that Dan is a big steak lover, and loves the restaurant Cabernet, we decided that it was the perfect upscale restaurant to celebrate such a milestone occasion.  They have a mezzanine level that serves as a balcony that overlooks the restaurant on the second floor.  It has one large “last supper” style table that seats 24 in the room, and we thought it was the perfect room for the party.

I went with a black and white vintage chalkboard type theme.  Dan really liked the invitation that I modified on mixbook.com  They had some really cute ones on Tinyprints.com, but we wanted to customize it a little more than they allowed on their standard invitations, so we went the mixbook route, and were very happy with it!

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Dan and I decided since it was a special occasion, to do the Uber Black, which means that you’ll either get a town car or black SUV.  We didn’t want to drive because we knew some drinks would be thrown back, and we didn’t want to worry about how to get home.  We ended up with the SUV and it was so nice. Driver was great, transaction was simple. Easy peasy! We arrive in style!IMG_9634.JPG

It was a lot of fun, the only downside was that the room only sat 24 people, which made it hard when it came to Dan deciding who to invite between family, his work friends, church friends, and friends from our neighborhood.  We wish that more could come, but with a larger group, we wouldn’t have been able to sit at the same table, so that would’ve been hard too.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed delicious food, sipped on great drinks, and had a wonderful time laughing and goofing off with friends! We had a made from scratch cake made from The Baker’s Man, which is who made my 30th birthday.  It was meant to look like the invitation, and I think he did a really good job! It didn’t taste as good as the one for my 30th (a little dry) but the icing was yummy, and we were having such a good time, that we didn’t really care much! Here are a few iPhone shots of the evening.

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IMG_9602.JPGI did a few surprise boards for Dan to commemorate his 40 years of life.  Ironically, Dan’s Mom had sent us old pictures a few years ago of Dan when he was a baby, and I dug through them all and found a few gems, and added a few recent ones too.  I’m happy with how it turned out!
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As if the fun we had at Cabernet wasn’t enough,  we decided to go across the street to get a little more cray-cray at Wild Wing Cafe.  We took a few shots with friends, and watched a band play, and the laughter and giggles continued.  We hung out on the front patio and after a shot and two long island ice teas, Dan thought he was a comedic genius, and had all of us rolling! So. Much Fun! He certainly had fun on his birthday.  You only turn 40 once!IMG_9629.JPG

 

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IMG_9632-0.JPGWell, Happy Birthday sweetie! I had a blast, and I’m glad to be celebrating this milestone birthday with you! After all you’ve been through the past few years, this party was well deserved! Looking forward to many more years of fun and celebrating!

SUP Yoga Birthday

I’ve been meaning to write about my SUP yoga birthday for a while now, and I finally have some time while the kiddos are napping to update the blog! The first time I did Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) was in Charleston with my bestie a few years ago. Her boyfriend is an avid surfer, and they own their own SUP boards. So, we took them out to the inlet, but not being too excited about what was in the water (we passed a few jellyfish), I was too nervous to get up on my feet, in fear of falling. So yeah… I paddled while on my knees, and that was basically it. It still peaked my interest because it is a lot like kayaking but with the option of getting wet and working your core, plus it offered options for doing fun yoga positions.
So, fast forward to this summer, my favorite Yoga studio in town Breathe Yoga, decided to host a summer series of SUP yoga classes out on Lake Lanier. The dates they had listed for June, the first month didn’t jive with my schedule, so I looked into the company they were using, and that’s when I found Atlanta SUP Yoga.  I snooped around their site a bit, and got to their calendar of events and noticed that on my birthday, August 10th, they were hosting a Super Moon Sunset paddle that evening!  I called immediately to see how many spots were open and then sent out a few emails to friends who I thought would be interested in joining me on, and Wallah! A fun evening on the books!

Four of the six of us carpooled and met for dinner beforehand at a really cute fun place called Pelican Pete’s right on Lake Lanier.  It really made me feel like I was on vacation being there.  Straw tiki hut style roofs, live music, cool breeze by the water. It was perfect! They didn’t have a lot of food choices (mainly bar type food) but we were just looking for a small bite before we hit the water.

After dinner, we met up with the rest of the crew, and our instructor at Vanns Tavern Park at Lake Lanier to get our SUP on!  The instructor Christy was awesome, and we started with cracking glow sticks to make necklaces and bracelets for when it gets dark.  The session was from 6:30-9pm, so even though it wasn’t dark when we started, we knew it would be getting dark when we were returning and they require by law for you to have a light on when it’s dark out.  So, why not bedazzle with glow stick jewelry?

It. Was. Amazing. I fell in love! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to get up on my feet. Once you’re on your knees, you go to table top position, and gradually push back with your hands and your feet push back into a squat, and then stand up with your paddle! I had the best company too.  A few girlfriends from my neighborhood, a longtime friend of mine from church, and a few playgroup Mom friends came, and it was the best group of girls! Lots of laughs and fun and simply the best way to spend my birthday!  We decided since all of us practice yoga, that we would do some yoga moves on the paddle board as well.  It wasn’t nearly as difficult as you would think and Christy was a certified yoga teacher, and was able to show us simple but effective positions.  Once you get the balance down, adding yoga is just a fun way to make it more interesting and to give you a new perspective and awareness.  It was so incredibly serene.  We thought the yoga would be the highlight of the night but God had something else to surprise us.  Just as we were paddling back, we looked behind us to see the most amazing sunset intermixed with overcast clouds.  Pink and purple hues with rays of light bursting from behind the trees.  Truly incredible!   Right when we though we had seen the perfect sky, we see the super moon peek over the horizon during our paddle back.  Large orange super moon!  The instructor had her iPhone, and took pictures, but it didn’t do it justice!  I wanted to bring my phone since it had a waterproof case, but the instructor said she didn’t advise it because it could very easily get dropped into the water and gone forever. So, I took her advice and just left it behind. But man… that was one incredible moon!

Now… I want my own paddlboard. Seriously!  I joke with Dan all the time about it.  If they weren’t so expensive, I probably would already have one right now! We just had such a great time that night, and it made me realized how close we are to Lake Lanier (only 22mins away from where we live) and how much we could really make the lake a fun part of our summers as the kids get older. I remember some fun times on the boat on LL as a kid as well, and would love for my kids to have those same memories.  So, I told Dan that we must go out on the lake soon, and we made plans for Labor Day to do just that.  More details in a future post on our boat rental and ride.

Turning 33 went off without a hitch, and it was by far the most adventurous and serene birthday thus far!

 

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