Monday, April 8, 2013

Pixie Dust and Other Stuff

"To live would be an awfully big adventure."
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Recently I have been looking back at old posts. Its hard for me to believe how much my littles change in just a few weeks and months and I know if I had not captured these small life moments they would have disappeared. Lost happy memories that may have seemed unimportant at the time but, later in life, will be one of many components that make up the whole of a joyful life. 
(The kids taking turns playing doctor--with their play workshop tools.)
(Him: "This won't hurt a bit Sissy."
Her: "OK" as she sits there and lets him pinch the bejesus out of her finger.)
(Her: "It feel better now.")
(She grabs Baby Cash's hand often and says, "Look Mommy! We holding hands!")

A few weeks ago I purchased the Peter Pan book on CD and, since hearing it multiple times, my kids have a new found love of the classic tale. Timing couldn't have been more perfect because our town's Middle School held a performance of Peter Pan this weekend and I took the kids to see it. 
(We felt real swords wouldn't be a good idea for the play so Daddy crafted a safer version out of paper and a piece of cardboard. He was happy.)
 (Him: "C'mone! Mommy's car is taking us to Neverland where we'll never grow old!"
Her: "OK but I a rabbit, not Tinkerbell.")

Shortly after sitting down in our seats an older gentleman sat down next to Hunter. He said hello to us then turned to Hunter and said, "Young man, you don't know me but the first time they did this play was 26 years ago and I was here. My daughter played Peter Pan." He immediately puffed up with pride and Hunter smiled big. I couldn't resist smiling and excitedly commenting on how really cool that was and what a neat guy to be sitting next to. 

Although the play was long, the kids did great. Another older gentleman came over to me during the second intermission to say how well behaved my children were and he was so impressed with "what good kids I had". Initially, I wanted to say, "Oh, believe me, they have their days" because it has been a challenging last couple of days. But, I remembered that little ears were listening and I said, "they are very good kids." Their smiles told me I had responded the right way. 

After being mesmerized by pixie dust and flying friends, the play was coming to a close with the scene of the aged Wendy telling Peter that she had grown too old to fly. I suddenly heard someone crying nearby. I looked over and realized that the gentleman sitting next to Hunter was crying. His quiet cry turned into full weeping and I realized that last scene brought back bittersweet memories when his own daughter was in this play and now she too was all grown up. 

I couldn't help myself. I began crying as well and I squeezed that beautiful little girl sitting in my lap because she was too tiny to see over the girl sitting in front of her and the adventurous little boy next to me who was the first to teach me what my heart was really made for: loving three little people who make my world extraordinary....
and reminding me to do it while taking things lightly.
(He said for weeks he wanted a "Night-Night party". I asked him what that entailed and he said, "lots of balloons, toys and presents. Sissy can come too." So, I hung balloons, dressed up some of his favorite stuffed toys, turned on some great dance music and showered him with 'presents' of hugs, kisses, my time and making his small request come true.)
"Dreams do come true if only we wish hard enough.
You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it."
-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Memories

"Where men see but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing."
-Albert Laighton

It seems Mother Nature has been a little cranky lately. I typically associate April and Easter with the unveiling of nice, warm weather but, this season has been hanging on to the winter chills like a bad case of the flu. 

Regardless, the festivities prevailed and we made the best of them.  I'm not about to let my love of the holidays get brushed aside by icy rain, snow and cloudy skies. So, smiles in tact, we charged on.... our favorite annual Easter egg hunt. 
(Don't be fooled by the beautiful sunshine. My feet and hands were numb by the time we left.)
It reminded me just how much changes in the blink of an eye.
 (His reaction to the Easter Bunny.)
(And hers.)
 Thank you Andrea for always putting on that special suit which can't be comfortable. You make my kids year EVERY year.
Just before the Bunny took off, she indicated that she wanted Hunter to share his chocolate. He hesitated a bit then handed over a piece. She told him to take it back but gave him the double thumbs up to let him know she was proud that he was being such a good sharer. I was too. They may not always be the best of sharers within the home but its outside in public where it really counts and shows you that your tireless teaching does make a difference.
A few days later Hunter asked if he could polish my nails before my Girls Night Out. I said sure and kept trying to subtly "fix" his work then when he said, "Mommy, Look! I'm keeping it just on your nail!" felt it better to just let it be. Besides, life is always expecting us to stay inside the lines when sometimes its better to color outside the lines.
Sissy also polished her own nails with a little help from Big Brother. It looked exactly the same the next morning and she smiled proudly......then a few minutes later broke down in tears because one "fell off!" 
Keeping true to my love of themes, I made some pancakes topped with Robin's Eggs. The best part was teaching the kids how to make tissue paper flowers out of paper recycled from Emerson's birthday gift bags.
I've finally gotten back into running and, thankfully, the weather on Easter weekend was nice enough that the kids were willing to go back into the triple jogger so Daddy could run with them at the Club.
Easter's just not Easter without some Peeps. (This is the first year I can remember that neither of my parents sent me Peeps for Easter! Ahem. I'll let it slide....this year.)
We had friends over to decorate eggs. For the first time we used acrylic paints and glitter. 
(Hunter obviously inherited my concentration tongue.)
We were pretty happy with the results...
...and the fact our take-home containers had candy in them.
Spring always signifies a time of new things to come and I was excited to be part of a night out to celebrate a sweet little baby to come. 

I can't believe almost a year ago I was doing the same thing!
 The night was full of fun and reminded me that although we try to plan our own lives we're not in control so sit back, relax and roll with the punches. 
And, you'll learn, having it served sideways with a candle on top and a harmonica solo may actually be the most delicious way to experience it.
Seeing my little go to the big kid class for the first time at church tugged at my heart. It just goes too fast.
 She was shy at first but then jumped right in and never looked back.
 The same afternoon we had some of our favorite friends over for our annual egg hunt. 
You know they're good friends when one entertains the kids with a crown and football helmet and the other grabs the broom and starts sweeping because the birthday decor, boxes and leftover breakfast had taken over.

But the highlight? When I said, "I think this is the messiest our house has ever been!" and their son agreed saying, "Wow, this is really messy!" 

You have to love the honesty of kids. He stepped right over the mess and sat down to enjoy some pizza. 
 Although it was chilly I couldn't help but get excited when I saw these babies while waiting for the egg hunters to emerge from the door. 
 Um, I mean bound.
(That tongue again...)
Some of us preferred to take it slow and steady. 
(See the bunny ears? I'm slowly winning him over to being a holiday dork like me.)
The silver egg was found and Hunter was excited to be a dollar richer. 
 And after a long search someone proved to be the expert Golden Egg Hunter.
 Which entitled his sister to a free photo op with the treasure egg.
Sari, Eric, Andrew and Millie: We love you guys and feel blessed to spend this special tradition with you guys every year!
As quickly as the days are going, I try hard to relish every moment of them being little. I am wise enough to know that before I realize it they will no longer need step stools and tiptoes.
 And practicing Princess 
 and being Mommy's Sioux Chef will no longer be a chosen way to pass time. 
 In preparation for the upcoming day, I made a fun school lunch for the kids. The only challenge was being limited to the foods that fit into the plastic eggs.
 Then, the big day arrived. 
From the front to the back, we were ready!
Because the traditional Southern girl still lingers in me, I dressed my littles in their Sunday best. My girl happily agreed to go early with me to help set up a photo booth I was fortunate enough to be a part of (any excuse to do something creative makes me very happy). I'd like to think she wanted to spend time with me but it could have been the fresh donuts...

A moving sermon followed by an egg hunt and photo fun.
 We were lucky enough to have our friend Coop join us. 
And when friends are like family, well....they get in your family photos.
After church it was on to Coop's house for the day my kids had been waiting for. After (at minimum) hundreds of whines to prove to me that "but today ISSSSS Sunday!" and "but today we ARRRRRRE going to Coop's house", the days that seemed like months to my kids passed and they had arrived. 
 They arrived to the house where the magic happens: more candy than you can eat, personalized Easter baskets filled with the greatest little happies, fabulous toys, biggest TV and most delicious food you've ever eaten.

 But, after we leave and for many days after if you ask my kids what they like best about Easter at Coop's house, its not the candy, big TV or baskets that they talk about. Its the "Mommy, I love Aunt Amy" and "I love Coop. Can I have my friend Coop over to play?"
Amy and Neil: Thanks for continuing to keep including our family for the holidays. You are our friends-like-family and our hearts are full with love for you. (You also happen to have a great brother and sister-in-law that makes me laugh until I almost pee in my pants which is the cherry on top.)

Another special holiday under our belt. We emerged unscathed by the cold weather and warmer days are on the horizon. That's a lot to smile about!
"The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances."
-Robert Flatt