Thursday, February 4, 2016

Well, You are 3.

You got to ride a pony! 

But first we stopped to get cupcakes and you asked for Winnie the Pooh!
Your brothers had a TON of fun. 

You had a full conversation with Chucke! 
You rode on rides with friends!
You got puzzles.
Happy Birthday Z!

I think 2016 will be your year.  

Today we spent the day with friends and your Dad and Brothers.  You were so cute.  You wore me out at Chucke.........

I can't believe you are 3.  

"We get to be the one!  Through birthdays and broken bones, we'll be there to watch you grow.  We get to be the one!" 

I think we all understand the value of being your one right now.  You are nothing short of a miracle and everything I would ever need in a daughter.  May you enjoy bubbles and sandboxes, headbands and cardboard boxes, imagination and creation, and all the love we have for you, ALWAYS! 

Happy 3rd Z girl! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 round up

2015 started off with a bang. Literally.  Fireworks were used in Florida to blow up Nolan's car seat.  Happy went famous on the Internet and had her 15 minutes. 

Beth's 5 year old website was lost. Devastation that a blogger would only understand but Let go and pushed Activation ReACT forward.

Zoey met Minnie.  It was heaven for everyone that was there.  She squealed.  We were happy for her.  Something I wish as family members we did for each other more. 
We went on a goal for everyone to be house healthy.  We all had individual journeys to physical and mentally overcome.  The journey continues but great strides were made. Beth started a new medicine but 2015 was John's year.  We are thankful for renewed health. 

Boys were in Oliver production #2 and Highschool Musical.  I think we are almost on an acting break.  We tried baseball for the first time. 

We explored NJ. Parks! 

We explored food.  Vegan! 

We explored getting to know each other.  Fun!  

Beth went full circle back to work.  Beth was excited. 

 We all read lots of books.  Bridge to Terabithia was the book of the summer.  

We hiked up a mountain. We walked trails. 

We got given a camper.  We went camping around the corner and felt like we were in a different country. We need to fix the camper up but we love every inch.  We even had our first day of school outside at the camper table. Loved ever second.  Jp started 7th grade and Nolan started 3rd. We miss the warmth. Warmth is good. 

Got a job in Cape May.  Full Circle! Excited for the next year.  She is glad to be finding roots and balance that align with health.

We redefined who we were online.  We cleaned out Facebook streams and purged over 300 people combined with who we feel social media is damaging relationships.  Our texting bill has increased but we do not mind one bit.  We feel closer to the people we love.  

Beth got back on a horse after an 18 year break.  Nolan rode a horse for the first time.  Jp got given a horse. 

We relearned and redefined our family holiday.   An uncle married that girl we met 2 years ago.  ( We wish them much happiness.  

We closed the new year off ripping up our carpet in the school room.  Major adventures in learning in 2016.  Word of the year, honesty.  Goal of the year: All of us learn something new.  Things are about to get real.  Come on 2016! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Stress you are not welcome or invited to Christmas of 2015

This year has been different.  It hasn't been a bad different.  It has been a beautiful different.  While I love my family so much, I think we can all agree, that the holidays can get stressful. That stress can end up wonderful. That stress can be/end up great.  That stress can also leave me exhausted by 12:00pm on Christmas Day unable to enjoy any more.  It can make me a Grinch.  It can make me Scrooge.  There are only so many hours in the day......but I learned this summer that they(my kids) are growing up so fast.  So, I need to knock the stress out of the house.  Occasionally, the stress appears but things are getting better. 
I like this picture because THERE IS A RAINBOW going across my tree. 
(How cool is that????)

Last year, the idea of gift giving made me cry. I wanted to buy the perfect gift for everyone but I couldn't.  I knew I couldn't because I can't buy something or make something for someone if I don't know them.  Unfortunately,  as you get older in life.....people change......interests change.....they get busy and out of touch with you. It's just change. Change happens just like well��......never mind! �� 

How can you find "the perfect gift" for someone you only see once a year, maybe twice. It's hard right?  So, we tried something different this year and we have been shopping since August.  This has been a huge stress reliever.  I have enjoyed shopping for those I know. This year I have tried to get to know those that mean so much to me better through texts and phone calls, rather than depend on Facebook.  I have remembered memories from the past as items have crossed paths. Slowly, gifts are being checked off our list. Gift bags are being filled! No stress. (Don't get me husband has some shopping to do for "his" people! But he doesn't seem much stressed either. This year is going to be great!)

Gift giving isn't the only thing that has changed.

Saving Where and When You Can

We have become resourceful.  Money was ruining our Christmases.  We could never have, earn enough money not to mention heating this house is expensive. 

So this year, with our decorations we have chosen elegant simplicity over grand statement pieces.  Our ladder up to the attic broke. (Another expense)  So,  just getting upstairs is "nearly" impossible. Guess where all of my beautiful and wonderful Christmas decorations are? UPSTAIRS! (With the broken door so we had to get creative) 

While we once use to pay up to $60 on a live Christmas tree, this year we paid NOTHING. 

Our oldest cut down this sapling from our yard. I love it. Our tree is MORE than enough.  We inspected it for any unwelcome guests.  (I.e. Singing chipmunks, spiders, ticks.....although since the frost has happened -most- of those annoyance creatures are gone from our woods). I was kind of disappointed I did not find a chipmunk named Alvin but...... Since, It has a Charlie Brown advantage and it isn't thick..... a full inspection was super easy easy. 

Enjoying the kids While They Are Here

We belong to a local theatre group that is an honor to be part of.  We love them.  My kids love their roles and meeting an older generation that loves the arts seeing the show and making a younger generation laugh.  We live sorta far and the drive is hard but my boys love spreading cheer in theatrical fashion.  We weren't scheduled to go in tonight but when it comes to theater you never know when you might be needed and team work is just as needed on the stage as it is needed on the basketball court. (Make no mistake about that!!) So, my boys dressed into their costumes as we awaited a call from their director.

So, our tree isn't Pinterest perfect but, starting to decorate the tree in an 1820's costume is pretty epic.  Soon Zoey wanted in on the fun and chose to wear her beautiful Christmas dress with sparkly boots.  (Found that dress on sale super cheap #score)

The thing she is handing Nolan is a TODDLER safe plastic (yet not THAT tacky) package of ornaments.  Zoey was pretty excited so her older brothers were pretty excited too! Plastic!  (Hello stress relief!  No broken glass!  Dollar tree saves the season??? Perhaps!) Zoey was in heaven.  The colors, the lights, there is a "TREE" in our own house.  That, in itself, is not normal. Zoey (only 2) knew it was exciting.  

I don't know how but she new exactly where our dollar tree golden star needed to go, but she knew. (Did she remember from when she was 1????)  I captured a beautiful video tonight. A video of her asking her Dad "up"! She wanted him to take her to the very top. I will save that video for her forever. "Up Daddy, Up" "Up on the Tree, Dad" I will save it just for them. (It's their moment.  I will not make it public on YouTube. #sorrykinda It's a great 22 second clip).

They won't stay little forever and I am not going to yell at them for touching elves or breaking ornaments. Zoey exclaims "Pretty Tree", "Pretty Dress", and then point to my wedding band.. "Pretty Ring!"  Yes, Zoey!  All very pretty! �������� For REALZ! My girl knows what is pretty for sure! 

I know they won't be 12, 8, and 2 forever.  For now I am thankful for those pretty moments and I refuse to let stress steal them.

Just letting them be them! 

A simple tree is easy to decorate and left time to sing music.  Nolan even played "Go Tell it On the Mountain" from last year's piano recital!  We ate candy canes. We tried to smother Zoey in hugs and kisses.

She just wanted to work on the "Tree"!  She really does love us, I promise. ��. In fact, she wasn't even crying in this picture. (Just trying to escape our hugs and embraces... to work on "the tree"). So dramatic....look at that face!!! I wonder if one day she will be part of the acting community that the boys love so very much??!!  Time will tell.

We got the call by the director that he had everything under control and he didn't need the boys.  Although, the boys love performing they know family is important too! I love that about them. Sometimes, being a parent is hard. Well, almost always being a parent is hard.  But, tonight it was pretty easy. 

They got out of their costumes and put on their Santa hats.  Grabbed a second helping of Candy Canes and just had fun in front of the tree! Charlie Brown trees are quick to decorate. Nolan even played on the piano. 

But then his brother made him stop! Then they were just goofy. 

Jp made a speech and exaggerated ...., ummmm story told about his adventure to find the tree.  

Then he started to sing a song. 

Then Nolan started rapping or something and crazy antics. 

Our Thanksgiving tablecloth is our tree skirt! ......and I am ok with that. 

And yes......Zoey got to help put the star "Up" on top of the tree just like she asked at the beginning of the night.....with a little help from her oldest brother and "her" Dad. 

Getting the sleep we all need! 

One thing that is apparent this year is that my lack of sleep.....Anyone's sleep.......can up the stress level.  I look and feel like a Zombie. If I am is everyone else.  "That if mama ain't happy....." Quote.........It is so true. 

We got to bed at a decent hour. 9:30!  Ohhhhh my gosh......what a gift! Sleep is a good thing.  Especially for me. Especially for my health.  Especially, for stress.  We, our family, hasn't been getting enough. 

Tonight was a beautiful day.  Tomorrow, we won't have a decorating hangover. Tomorrow, I will wake up to a beautiful tree. 

Cost of a beautiful night and tree: $19 and that was including the candy canes. Cost of a night in the memory books..... Priceless! (Psssstttt MasterCard nor Dollar Tree have any clue I wrote this post!!!!!)