Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Someone Call A Mickey Medic...

Wowza! This house has been busy and lazy at the same time. So much to little time...and the stomach flu trying to take over us all! Good things came out of all the down time spent on the couch with a beauty or two on my snuggles and blogging! I got to be in the kitchen for a few hours with Dru (who luckily never really got sick) and with either big girl well enough to join me :) I made so much Homemade Chicken Noodle that there is still some in the fridge. Not a drop of the Fresh Tomato Soup left though. Having the kids home prolonged some of the half finished projects that I had wanted to tackle last week. Somehow I am okay with that was some time well used in between trips to the bathroom and naps and convincing them that the only way they would have strength to heal is to get a little something in their tummies even if it comes up hours later. AJ was back to school Thursday, but G got to school and had to come back home. By Friday it was almost like it never happened. Which was amazing...considering our plans for the weekend!

For the last several years the Handsome Pilot and I had talked of trips to Disneyland. Considering that when we moved here in 2007 it was about 10 minutes away from our house and every consecutive year we promised ourselves that THIS WOULD BE THE YEAR...but never went. I think that because him and I had NEVER been we always had the experience built up in our heads of what we wanted it to be like the first time. Things like 'what if we only go one time in our lives? are the girls old enough to enjoy it? old enough to remember it? let's do a cruise! let's make a week of it like tourists! let's wait until we have this unmentioned perfect amount of spending money! when will we have the time? we must take the kids together...even if we are not together! '

Party Don't Start Until I Wake Up
Holy cow we had so many reasons to go and not to the end I think that we just wanted it to be a perfect experience for the girls. We had no idea what that 'perfect' was though. We had been invited tons of times by friends that had annual passes and we could not even fathom that idea...go to Disneyland whenever you want after 30+ years of never have been! 2012 though...we were not going to say no! Last summer we decided that come what may we would together take the beauties to was time! When Christmas came we had it all set...Spring Break was to be the big time! Handsome Pilot was going to take vacation and away we would go 28 miles down the road to the Happiest Place On Earth!

Well...until we got an invite from a preschool friend of Grayce and Ava's to go at the end of February for his 9th Birthday! Seemed perfect...while we at first did not want our first time to be with another family we could not say no to the two families we would share the day with! The kids all together are amazing. They get along. So well behaved. They are all like my own children and I enjoy each of those three smiles as much as I enjoy seeing my own children happy. Their mothers are my BFF's and well a certain hubs in the bunch will carry heavy stuff! We are blessed to know them and blessed to have shared those days with them all :)

So Saturday morning the beauties thought we would be going to the birthday boy's house... I had pinned fairy wings on their wall and wrote them a note letting them know there was a change in plans for the day...they would need the wings...and follow the pink, red and white confetti down the stairs for more clues. Daddy had perfected cutting out Mickey Mouses (or would it be Mickey Mice?? NO...ok.) and they found gifts like Mickey Mouse watch with a notes that said "Do you know what time it is?" Mickey sunglasses with a note "Your day is looking bright!" Greeted by a trail of MORE Mickey notes that said...'We are going...' 'To the Happiest Place On Earth!' Leading them to Minnie Mouse plates with Mickey shaped toast (because I wasn't going to test their newly recovered tummies with much else). Then I brought out Mickey Mouse shirts...and outfits telling them they would need these where we were going! YOU COULD HEAR CRICKETS....chirp chirp clueless.

New Walking Shoes
I then informed them that we would NOT be going to their friends house...OOPS! There was almost mutiny... I assured them we would be meeting him somewhere else instead! Daddy and I both asked if they knew the hints all over the which AJ yells CHUCK E CHEESE! I then asked when did we ever tell a lie in this house 'NEVER' they replied loudly and with sad and confusion! Ok...when do we keep a secret...'NEVER' .. but that time they replied like I was just asking ridiculous questions to distract from what I wanted to tell them! The Handsome Pilot and I were just staring at each other while they stared at us! We were smothered in EVERYTHING MICKEY! As parents we had disappointed with NOT going to friends house...NOT going to Chuck E Cheese...for sometime they thought I had NOT set out outfits for them...they were NOT hungry and requested that I NOT finish making the Mickey breakfast...they had NOT been able to sleep in due to a teething sister waking everyone up at full screams by 6:30 AM. I tried to whisper it to Dru who knew what I was talking about and she smiled. I gave more clues...I whispered to Dru again and she squealed! BUT GRAYCE OVERHEARD and very confused said it outloud...probably so scared it was something else we would NOT be doing! I laugh now at the thought of how many MORE hints they would have the moment I just screamed 'WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!'

Breakfast Diva
Then they were all screaming...Grayce stopped and just stared at Dru who was still so excited and said 'I love her happy screams!' I am tearing up now at that moment and I had tears when it happened. They all cheered...AJ had since begun to bail to put on her new outfit...and Grayce just enjoyed Dru's excitement for a half moment longer. I was showered with hugs and then it hit me 'WE ARE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!' As a family...a WHOLE family. Something the Handsome Pilot and I waited our whole lives to do...and so had they :)

No lie...a bit of madness took place in the preparation to get out of the house. Especially since the plan of me getting up before them to prep had been put aside when baby woke up super early! I thought I would fall to the ground and lose my brains before we even got out the door OR spin in circles and holla from excitement...LOL! Never the less we remembered everything we needed and made it out on time! The best part about our friends is that they make us look like early birds! I will never dislike them for that one reason :)

Let's Do This
Once we found our way to the Happiest Parking Lot On Earth the excitement that nearly kept us from getting out the door had drown down to full on determination to see that big castle. Okay so most of the excitement I talk about was my the time we got there nothing mattered. The we got there...if any of us had ever been there long the hint giving that morning took...what we were wearing...NOTHING BUT THE EXCITEMENT of enjoying Grayce's birthday coming to a final celebration promise and her friend enjoying his actual birthday surrounded by his friends since preschool and Mickey Mouse! The long wait of getting our passes in order seems long forgotten now as I write.
Happiest Mama On Earth

We fully enjoyed the day until about 6pm when it all went the opposite direction... Gracye whom up until the moment in line for the Finding Nemo ride had never been injured in her lifetime. Yes, she did have her appendix rupture and fought through the surgery. She spent most of her infancy ill and her first Christmas in the ER with trouble breathing. But aside from one or two scrapes from normal kiddo falls she had never been injured so badly she bleed more than a drop of blood. Saturday changed all of that for her making Disneyland an extra memorable experience!

The Handsome Pilot & The Beauties
Grayce had stumbled in an attempt to join every other child at the park in sitting on the railing in line and went right around dropping flat on the back of her head. The ground shook, she jumped up and started to run out of line. I was not in it kinda freaked me out to see Grayce so upset (which is an understatement) and her Daddy looking a bit shocked carrying baby Dru who was pointing at her sister crying saying 'FAW DOWN FAW DOWN'. Daddy looked at me and said calmly 'Uh. She bumped her head.' Alrighty well calm down. I didn't see anything wrong and at that moment of seeing me she calmed for a second. I hugged her tight and Daddy whispered 'she's bleeding.' When I looked just under the hair line Grayce went into a panic and cried and screamed. Sure enough there was a hair full of blood! An ER Doctor actually stepped out of line and looked at her head. I was going to call for the park medic mostly to be able to pull her out of the masses of the park to be looked at in hopes of calming her a bit. I took baby. Daddy took Grayce and stepped aside. The nurse who arrived from the park and the ER doctor said that she appeared to be okay, but suggested Urgent Care or ER for some staples.

How we rode Dumbo
AJ stayed behind with our friends after a quick meeting of the minds. Leaving our concerned friends and happy to stay AJ at the park the 4 of us headed off to see the doctor. Grayce was going between calm and upset on the way out of the park. Daddy even took a quick picture of her in front of the castle as we had to pause our walk out of the park for a passing parade. The story from there was simple. Found the Urgent Care very easily thanks to the list provided by Disneyland. Even got to see other victims of the Mouse House getting patched up from their dangerous journey of Tea Cups and Mountains. Once we got back to be seen Dru explained what happened to the doctor several times...yelled at him for touching her sisters Boo Boo...sang with me to Grayce as her head was stapled and she ended with a long finale of OUCH in tune with Twinkle Twinkle! We were out of there by 8:05pm. Momentarily G said lets go back to the park after I teased we could still make it for the fireworks. Followed by...I want to throw up AND I need to lay in a bed right now!!! Every little bump in the car hurt her head. She fought back the crying like earlier, yet couldn't stop those fat crocodile tears from rolling like rapids down her cheeks.

We knew she was not going to make the short drive back home without getting sick. She knew her friends and sister were still at the park. She knew they were all sleeping at the hotel. I KNEW that this was not supposed to be how this day ended. There was supposed to be Mickey ears! BBQ dinner with friends! A parade! Space Mountain! Fireworks! Another day spent at California Adventure! I don't know what hurt me more right then? Her broken head or her broken heart? Daddy and I didn't know that she would be able to go to the park the next day. While the doctor was certain all the nausea and shakes and dizziness was from a mix of anxiety, shock and adrenaline we still had to watch her very carefully! Neither one of us as parents assumed much sleep would be in our evening plans. Dru had passed out right on time for normal bed time 8:05pm and had her very own long day cutting those 2 year molars. So we checked into the hotel thanks to hotel rewards points we got a great deal where everyone was staying! Daddy rocked Dru back to sleep as she talked about Meme Mouse and fought off sleep for an additional 2.5 minutes. I took Grayce in to the warm bath tub. We washed her hair out. Talked about how much fun we did have even though it ended quickly and that Disneyland would be there probably another 50 years for a return visit! When we got out Dru and Daddy were cuddled up in the chair. I convinced her to let me braid her hair down both sides. Found her the only thing she wanted to eat for dinner OREOS and MILK.
Final Score
The Mouse-1   Grayce-3

She did not make it past one Oreo. She called Tim to tell him what had happened. I called my Mommy and Daddy to let them know what they already knew...G is hard headed like her mother! Then Daddy and I detoxed for a while watching her sleep thinking and talking back on all the times we had been scared as new parents. Also how lucky we are that while Grayce was the one with staples this time she was not often prone to accidents and injuries! Once again thankful for dainty little girls...well for now the teen years are certain to bring us to our knees begging in prayer!

Ava convinced my girlfriend and her grandma to stay and ride Small World with her when all the other kids bailed and headed back to the hotel with the other family that joined us. At one point my girlfriend sent me a text of AJ watching the fireworks and that beautiful expression on awe on her face drew me to tears. She was happy. I love seeing joy on my baby's face. Anyhow, they rolled in just after 11pm. AJ inquired about Grayce wanting to know all the details. Then she just faded away to sleepyland with a smile on her face and a flashy light up necklace around her neck wrapped in the 'same' princess blanket she has had since birth.

By morning Grayce was good to go. We woke her a couple of times in the night and then by 7:30am she sprung out of bed and was ready to go again. When her friends asked her about it she casually said "well it feels like staples in my head. not a big deal ya know." UH OKAY now she's calm. After breakfast and getting 10 people organized, which is actually pretty easy if we can get ONE OF US to pre-iron all of the days outfits before leaving on a trip...UH UMM no names to be mentioned someone :)-

My Gang minus one little man
Spent the next day at California Adventure which is Disneyland, but with more height requirements! Grayce got to ride most of the rides. We DID NOT allow any roller coaster or jerky ride. That was easy because her friends are to scared for the few coasters and the rest of the rides are just that...a ride through a fairytale. We saw shows. We ate. We stopped at some shops. We talked to Minnie Mouse. We had a great time and look forward to going back very soon.

That was kinda it...our last few weeks are summed up to equal this-- I have a few unfinished projects waiting for me, several completed. We are all finally healthy. We made a lifetime of memories. We learned why you can't play in line for rides at themeparks (the hard way). We learned how true our friends really are and how lucky we are to have met.

Most of all we learned that no matter what you think something might might just get more instead :)

*I will add more pics this weekend...seeing as though my computer disagrees with me using a card reader :) These were some of what I had on my phone!
They woke up and asked...When did we get McDonalds??

*I will add more pics this weekend...seeing as though my computer disagrees with me using a card reader :) These were some of what I had on my phone! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life's A Dance...

Whew! I have been so tired these days...I don't know if it is the overcast weather that rarely hits LA or if it is the fact that I have been running around like crazy keeping up with the beauties. More likely that fact that this month is the busiest month for HollyHome every year!

The Handsome Pilot & His Birthday Present
In February we celebrate approximately 7 birthdays (that I can remember right now). The Handsome Pilot turned 31 years old this year. Which made me think all the way back to his 21st birthday...Mardi Gras St. Louis. We drove all the way from college (about 4 hours away) only to discover that he had forgotten his ID! We didn't need it anyway, but still silly to think of the irony. Spend 21 years to be able to flash that bad boy and then can't find it the ONE day you want to be carded. Such strange twists and turns life has taken since then. Each one BIG...each one WILD...each one as EXCITING as the next! The first major turn for us happened shortly after we met in NYC where he asked me to live with him...which lead to the next reason February is such a busy month...OUR FIRST LITTLE BEAUTY GRAYCE!

Grayce turned NINE years old this year! I can't hardly believe NINE! It all went so fast...and slow at the same time. I mean it seems like I have ALWAYS been a mother...but really its only been 9 short years and she is still my baby girl...not ready for the real world...still so much to learn...still so much to teach her! Yet at the same time she is half-way out of the another 9 short years she will be leaving for college. My beautiful Grayce-- I cried everyday dropping you off at school until the 2nd grade and not a day goes by that I am not excited to pick you up from school!

G's Chuck E Birthday
We have planned to celebrate her birthday later in the month with her friends. Never fail every year it's hard to plan a birthday party around Valentine's Day. You'd think it was Christmas the way everyone has plans! But that is more like Ava's Birthday! So we were gonna do a low key dinner and a movie...which she changed her mind and wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese! Cool with me...her closest friend (and mine too) met us there! It was a great time. She didn't actually ask for much this year which meant she got everything she asked for at age nine! I am just lucky she provided a list...cuz I had nothing in mind! Bedroom is redecorated...she got her bike for Christmas just 2 months ago...and loves her new place :) Life is content for her...especially now that she got a remote control helicopter, a 'life' saber and pink legos :) OH and clothes for her Ken doll...apparently he needed a new outfit because his old one didn't fit anymore and according to Ava Jo it didn't match Barbies outfits!

Today Grayce and I had a bit of a misunderstanding! OH the joys of having estrogen overload in the house...mixed with a new decorated bathroom...and the clumsiness that runs in our DNA (on both sides)!

In the moments where I have to come down on her my heart breaks in half! She is a great kiddo...she is smart, kind, and more beautiful on the inside than I could every dream! I have always told the girls that I am not their friend--I am their MOM! So many times it is easy to look at how someone else is mothering and think or worse say how you would do it better.  No one can love and care for your child like you can, so you can't start doing it like everyone else would. As their mother you have shared every heart beat with watched as they took their first loved before they were even a thought in your mind...and you bear the burden of guiding them into full human beings!

Tonight our misunderstanding started when the shower curtian rod did a graceful slide down the shower wall while she was in the bath tub. I tried to fix it when Grayce was in and out of the tub doing I am not sure! I asked her to stay in or out because the floor would get wet and I didn't want her tangled up in the shower curtain. Two more times she went in and then out...I figured I'd just take the curtian out for the time being and when I reached up to grab it she decided to jump out of the tub again bumping into me I stepped backwards into the metal shampoo holder and let out a very strange sounding 'YELP!' instead of a curse word that I wanted to say! I then turned to G who looked like a guilty puppy...I handed her a towel and began the 'Be Aware Of Your Surroundings Lecture' for the 3rd time this week! Not yelling...but the Mama voice.
After the 2 mins that takes she said 'You scared me! I thought I was in soooo much trouble...'

Those words broke my heart even more than the normal heart break from the trouble they get into!

I said Grayce what scared you...because I yelled?

She said 'No.'

I asked 'because I fell?'

She said 'No.'

Then I knew and asked her...'Because you thought I would be mad?'

Grayce gave me a nod of yes.  'Do I seem mad now? Are you in trouble?'' I asked back to back.

Grayce was so cute with a smile in her response, "No. But you were scared weren't you!"

"UH---YES Grayce!...Mama's big butt could have crushed you into a bug!"

She totally agreed!

I told her this then...but I am telling her again now!

Baby Girl--I want you to know that I could never get mad at you! Never be scared to make me mad! Never be scared to disappoint me! I am your Mama always and always I will love you. Always I am on your side. Always I will hold your hand when the world scares you! I am flattered that you want to never disappoint me...but Grayce Kathleen 'Well behaved women rarely make history, just ask Eleanor Roosevelt! Go make your mistakes...go take your it now! Because after 9 more years I will have to let you go into a world that will expect perfection from me as a parent to have taught you everything you need to know. Each moment now is a moment I can teach you something! Each moment ALWAYS is a moment you can learn something new!  Tonight we learned 'Don't ask a shower curtain to dance while it is already dancing with someone else...its dangerous!'
Aside from losing skin that used to be on the bottom of my was a painless and comical experience. Yesterday though Coach had to lecture you about crossing the parking lot because you could have been hit by a get broken and you get sad because you will step on things rather than pick them up off the are always walking into people because you spend so much time looking at your feet or up at the sky...I saw a little girl almost get taken from her mother at a store in a news article. My sweet girl I am NOT mad at you! You did nothing's not your fault...we are all clumsy girls in this house :) I just want you to learn to always be aware of your surroundings and prevent the things you can...but know how to work through the things you can't. I want you to pause and think, even if for a moment, before you make a choice. This is one of the biggest things I can teach you before you begin to explore the world on your own. Trust me as a girl and someday a woman it will be SO VERY important to be aware of things around you and how your own actions can affect any situation (good or bad)! I love you! --Mama

My sweet girl...I didn't yell at her...I didn't punish her...there was no need to do so! She felt bad though...which is more than I can say for her sisters who laughed their tails off in the doorway! LOL
back at you little buggers! After I finished all that talking she said "NOT SCARED OF YOU...scared you were going to break something and it would be my fault!" OH--I may have read into that a bit much :) That little dance I did with the shower curtain was probably the best thing that could have shown her and our conversation to follow was the most important one we will ever have...well until the day she figures out I have ALWAYS been her best friend!

The Birthday Boy and Girl
Overall, this year has been awesome. I have been home WAY more now that I am not taking classes and doing the internship. I have taken a much needed step back to recoup and make a steady step forward. Spent some much needed time with the beauties and have opportunities knocking and waiting for me to answer. I welcome the busy that the last part of the month will bring. More importantly we are days away from not looking at another box in this place (oh the joys of finding things in storage you haven't seen in years)! We have hit a rhythm and routine that will allow me to step into a job soon and I have even been thinking about jumping onto a feature film. I have enjoyed the short term of commercials and television. Like a crazy woman though I miss the excitement of a feature and welcome the right chance to do one again...the one that makes all that crap work worth it!

G's Birthday Breakfast
So far so good. I'll post pics of the new bathroom soon. Along with all the crafts we have done this year...For now enjoy the new Hipstomatic App I got for foodies!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Photographic Memories

I used to be a woman who welcomed change and adventure. Not saying that I no longer do...but more these days I am a little slower to warm up to change and adventure has a entirely new meaning. With all certainty it has been the addition of each beauty that has made me this way. Once you have a full house of little ones it is important to have routine and schedule of day to day activities, but somehow you lose all sense of organization! So strange how that works out.

Around our home has been a busy time getting settled a new place and a new schedule! New routes to school, new obstacles out the door, new rules, so many things are new new new!

Yet there are MANY things that remain the same in HollyHome! Kids everywhere thrive on knowing what to expect (unless it involves ice cream or Disney anything). Keeping the little ones in a solid routine great reduces fits, attitude and confusion. In return making happier and healthier children (so said the girls first pediatrician). Taking that advice and applying it has helped me tremendously as a mother. Bed time got easier, potty training was a breeze, dinner time went smoothly and all around makes us happy. The handsome pilot and I have found these tools to be beneficial in our lifestyle. We relocate for work. We both have ever changing work schedules. We can be known to change directions with a shift in weather just while driving to dinner. We confidently know that our children will easily adapt because the core of what we do and who we are as a family does not change.

Recently I have seen how these intangible gifts of routine are even ever changing...we can introduce new routines and new traditions without a huge disruption in the girls lives. WELL ALMOST! Some changes are out of our control and we do not give up our efforts of healing the uneasy parts of life.

In prayer lies the core of our routine. Every night and every meal we say prayer. I have mentioned this before in previous posts and when I say EVERY I mean MOST. There have been some spans of time where our routine was so fast paced at bed time that 'prayer' was a God bless you said on the way to the bedroom. Followed by me sneaking in later to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads whispering to them each individual prayers that I wrote after G was born. Other nights we just all pass out watching a movie or having the Sing It Karaoke Championships. The through line is that we don't forget God at bed time or meal time no matter how busy we get and no matter what has changed around us in life. Sometimes it's me saying prayer...sometimes it's Daddy...sometimes Tim. On lucky enough summer nights Grandma G is with them and it is a collection of songs to include 'Amazing Grace'...and that is her special gift to them. They love it and look forward to every visit because of that special time.

After our recent move it has been more important than ever to stick to our beloved bed time routine, as extra assurance that this is home! We also added in a little Shel Silverstein back into the routine, which dates all the way back to the days each of them was brought home from the hospital.

A few nights ago as I put the beauties to bed to say prayer they all decided that they would be sleeping in the same bed. Dru in her chosen spot crunched up tightly in the middle of her big sisters. All three pillow pets squeezed in a straight line across the top of the twin bed. Two empty beds stripped of stuffed animals and beloved blankets. One mommy moved to tears at the sight of three beautiful faces with eyes closed gently, hands clasped so God could hear them, and gentle whispers of The Lord's Prayer filling the room. I would give anything for a photograph of that moment! Any thought I had of moving them to their own beds after drifting off to sleep were removed and for the first time since we moved I felt completely and sincerely at HOME once again!

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in taking photos of events and fun times that I lose track of the TIME I am having. I forget to be involved in those moments. Don't get me wrong...I took a hiatus from extreme attachment to my camera for that reason...I know it's important to have those photographs. I sometimes wish I had more photographs, but there are so many moments that I am lucky enough to always close my eyes and go back to immediately. Having moments like that make life worth living.

Our family has finally found a rhythm again. We all know what is going to happen. How long it takes to drive to school. Which days we need to pack an extra snack for the car. Most importantly we have learned that while the world CAN and WILL change around us, we will remain the same. I am proud that we as parents never took the word FAMILY lightly. The Lord knows that with separation and time our family could have lost full sight of what we built our home on from the beginning...LOVE and FAITH. Coming back together again has in no way been easy, but it has not been a challenge either. When we feel out of touch...not at home...scared of the unknown future...we turn to prayer knowing that it will take us back to HOME where we feel safe and grateful for all we have been blessed to have and know as a family.

For us it's prayer. For Grandma G it's songs. For my Daddy it was morning talks. With Mama K it is coffee and chatter over the table. I am amazed what providing consistency can do for children and for a whole family. Being consistent and having a routine does not mean that things never change, it simply means take some things remain with you as it does and if you don't like what has changed then CHANGE IT BACK to the way it were!
Audree 2010

Grayce and AJ 2007

**To my beauties I would say... Enjoy every moment you are given in this lifetime. Take photographs of the great moments. Always remember to be a part of the amazing moments. Know your family has faith in all that you choose to do and be. Most of all say your Prayers and brush your teeth before you go to's the fastest way back 'home' again! --All my love Mommy

A rare photo of bedtime with Grandma G during a visit 'home' in 2010.