Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Breaking Point

I think so many times when you have a bunch of kids people assume you are some sort of super mom. No such case here. Let me tell you, yesterday was a case of the "I feel like the worst parent ever" moments. Ellie, my gymnast, was walking out of Girl Scouts with her friend while we loaded up meeting stuff and her friend did a cartwheel and accidentally kicked Ellie in the hand. No big deal. Just thought she was being a little emotional and I basically told her she'd be alright and to suck it up. Oh geez. That was last Tuesday night. I put ice on it and wrapped it up. She felt bad Wednesday so I gave her some tylenol and wrapped it up again and then again on Thursday. She had a bit of a cough and a runny nose so I thought that was the main thing she was feeling bad about. Friday she said it felt sort of better so I didn't take her to the doctor. We thought we'd see how it felt over the weekend. It was bruising pretty bad so I thought she had just bruised it pretty good.

Monday (SIX days later). Went to the doctor. Her hand is broken. Broken!!! We go back to the surgeon next week to see if she will need surgery and screws. Whoops. Parent fail. I have to give her some credit though, because she really did suck it up. I felt so awful that I hadn't taken her right away and that I had told her to suck it up! She told me not to feel bad, that even she was surprised it was broken! What a doll. She was bummed she didn't get a pretty pink cast and that she is out of gymnastics for the next 6 weeks.

I hope that she can take away from this how strong she really is. I always knew she was, but this should have been her breaking point and it wasn't.

Apparently I wasn't holding it up correctly (the broken hand is her left and this makes it look like her right). Not bad for in the car with my phone!

Tough little cookie!

Oh you know I got her ice cream!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

September is such a great time of year. The weather begins to change and we start to settle into our routine. It is the calm before the storm. I adore our activities but sometimes I just don't know how I do it all. I am not perfect but I try and I think that in this situation that's what counts. I think that one of the hardest things we do as parents is devote so much time to our children without knowing what things will have the greatest effect on them. What memories will be most dear to them? What will they take away from the experiences we have? I wonder if I'm doing the right things and making the best decisions. The impact from those decisions is decades away. What a tough job!

So many times people say "I don't know how you do it." Well honestly, I don't either! I have so many thoughts of doubt that could consume me if I let them. Did I make the right choice by going back to work? Do I give them each enough time? Are we reading enough to the little ones? If I let all of these doubts play on my mind I would never get anything done. I have been working on not doubting myself and the choices I have made to better my family.

Here's what I have done that I am so very proud of:

I read to Ethan and Ellie ALL the time. Now I have them read to Regan and Jack. They even do the voices just like I do.

I taught each child to do chores. Even Jack (who is four) can put things away and swiffer for me. I do not want to send them out into the world thinking that their mommy is going to do those things for them. Or worse that their wife will!

I taught my children how to wash themselves, brush their teeth and hair and get dressed by themselves. I know that some of you might think, duh! But I can tell you that I have witnessed a ridiculous amount of children that cannot accomplish these tasks for themselves. It is rather heartbreaking to see a child that is 6 or 7 and can't (or won't) get dressed by themselves because their parent just didn't want to give up that control or didn't give their child that capability.

I lift them up and tell them they can be anything that they want to be. I also tell them that they should expect greatness from themselves because that's what they are capable of.

I have taught them compassion and empathy. I am most proud of those moments when they have shown their outstanding capability to love one another.

I challenge myself to stop relishing in the what if's and be content with here and now and to forgive myself when I do something wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Year in the Making

Ethan excitedly asked me last night if I knew what tomorrow was. I think I disappointed him when I referenced the tragedy of our nation and not his own personal struggle. September 11, 2013 was the day he had surgery to break his legs and correct his in-toeing. A huge, monumental day for him. He has come so far. Six weeks in a wheel chair and then a few months of walking with a walker and taking it easy. He has metal rods and screws in his femurs for the rest of his life. With all of the struggle that we had in those first few days and weeks I am so glad we decided to fix his legs. He came out of it stronger than he went in. Physically, mentally and emotionally it helped him to grow. His surgery was a bilateral femoral derotational osteotomy, just in case you were curious. I am glad that this day is a personal victory for him, Especially when it is such a sorrowful day for so many.

The week before you can see his in-toeing. His was pretty severe.

He slept quite a bit in the hospital. 

This was his first outing about a week later.

He got to play a lot of video games and had lots of down time.

His toes are even pointed out a bit here. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lacy Burlap Fall Wreath

I really think that making wreaths is one of the most satisfying crafts ever. When you finish it you put it on your door and present your masterpiece. Perhaps that's a bit dramatic but I always feel accomplished putting up a great wreath. I have been using this same twig wreath for forever. I've definitely gotten my 7 bucks worth. I reused my sparkle corn cobs, feathers, leaves and beaded twigs from last year. I added some lacy burlap wire ribbon, my gold J and some gold pine cones, which I found in the Christmas section. Took about 10 minutes and I think it looks pretty fabulous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Best Buddy

Jack is perhaps my best buddy. None of the other kids really like to snuggle the way he does and we do a lot of snuggling. We talk a lot about the most random and awesome things, like jumping into a pool of marshmallows. Even the other kids agree that he tells the best stories and we all enjoy hearing his made up "adventures". He really does bring such joy to our family!! He can't wait to play football, loves everything super hero and loves loves loves frogs. He is our official frog catcher. I can't imagine life without Jack.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School and a nice raise.

I got a raise last week! The day we never thought would come did and all the kiddos are in school. I didn't cry and neither did they. Although I must admit that there is a part of me that wishes I was a stay at home mom and I had 5 hours to myself! This year is so monumental with the start of middle school. I know it is going to fly by and before I know it my sweet little Jack will be starting middle school and Ethan will be in college. The years seem to be moving faster and I'm trying hard to live in the moment and be present and grateful for each stage. What a fabulous family I've got!!

The good pic.

Dad being silly!

Me, excited about my raise :).
Last year!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mickey Cupcakes and Smash Cake

My bestie's baby just turned 3 and to celebrate she had a Mickey Mouse party. She asked me to make his cupcakes and a smash cake. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and ended up mixing all of the ideas into what worked for me. You can find my board here. I am not a fondant expert yet so I chose to go with what I know, butter cream. I love a good vanilla butter cream with a little cream cheese kick, whipped and whipped so that it is fluffy and silky smooth. My chocolate cupcake recipe is the bomb, super moist and just enough chocolate that you feel like you are indulging but it isn't over kill. Seriously they are so good! I found out the hard way that melting chocolate does not work with food coloring. My husband and kids kept sneaking those little discs...so I think we will be able to use up that giant bag I purchased! Lesson learned. So I made up some sugar cookie icing and double dipped my Oreos to make these. Super easy, super fun and they looked really cute. I will say though, with cookies (especially with Oreos) they need to be the last thing you put on if you want them to stay crunchy. If you put them on a cake or cupcake the night before they will be soft, still really yummy, but soft and not crunchy. It really only took me about 10 minutes to assemble 3 dozen after they had been double dipped, so it's economical from a time stand point to add them right before your guests come. For the smash cake I found a super cute Mickey sticker set at Hobby Lobby and I just stuck it to a red and white striped straw. I made a washi tape banner using two more straws and some twine. Easy peasy!! I mimicked Disney's lettering for his name, which to me made all the difference! Super fun smash cake!

If you are in the Tulsa area, you can order your own Mickey Mouse cupcakes from my store, Three Magee Cupcakes. I deliver!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Airstream

So in yesterday's post I showed you this sneak peak of our Airstream:

We took that picture on our way down through California on Highway 1. If you have ever driven it you know its stunning, We had stopped on the side of the road for a potty break. While we were at my dad's he gave me a sign from my grandmothers house which has her house and street name on it, "Three Magee". She passed away a few years ago. Her land and houses were like being in your own private redwood forest. I wish my children could have experienced its magic. I photographed it when I went out for her funeral. We named our Airstream "Three Magee" and we're going to hang the sign inside when we get to the decorating part.

The nice thing about getting Three Magee from my dad was...it was free. About the only thing in it we are saving is the water tank, air conditioner and the toilet, which is pretty new. Everything else had been exposed to the damp air of coastal California and Oregon and was a little funky. Here she is before we started demo.

Hello 1978!

We are almost done with taking every thing out. Need a good workout? Gut an Airstream!We need to replace the sub floor with new plywood clean all the vents and windows, replace the screens, take the paint off the outside, reseal it, repaint it or buff it out, put in new flooring, recreate the bathroom, fabricate our own double bunk beds, purchase a new refrigerator, seal and paint the walls and last but certainly not least create a pull out bed for Dale and I. So you know, easy stuff! Whew! I wanted to leave the divider walls out to create a more open space. Our bed will be a pull out that can be a couch during the day. The top bunks I want to be more like cots and fold up to attach to the ceiling so that it feels more open and we can use the lower bunks like seats. The only thing I really want to have in it is a good little refrigerator. I don't care so much about bringing the oven back in. Who wants to do a bunch of baking when you're on an adventure? We are really good at fire cooking and I'm going to have a microwave above the fridge. We also have a plug in single burner. I would rather have an outdoor kitchen and more living space inside the trailer. It is really important for me to be able to take a shower and go to the bathroom there too if we need be. On our first camping trip with the four of them the showers at the campsite were so muggy that we needed a shower after showering. It was gross and had no ventilation. Three Magee has a nice big window in the back!

So there she is. I will post updates as we take stuff out and really make some progress. I hope to have her ready to go by Spring Break. Fall Break would be awesome, but lets get real here! If you have any questions about her feel free to ask!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A little adventure

Last fall we drove from Oklahoma to Oregon to pick up a 1978 Argosy Airstream from my dad. We traveled through Denver, Yellowstone, beautiful Pacific beaches, downtown San Fran at rush hour hauling the airstream and Disneyland. We pushed hard on the way back to just get back in time and stayed extra at Disney so we missed The Grand Canyon. We crammed a lot in, which simply made us hungry for staying in one place and really exploring on our next little adventure. 

We visited Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful while basking in the most beautiful smell of real pine trees. The kids saw the ocean for the first time. My ocean, with cool water on a wonderfully cloudy and foggy day (in true Northern California/Oregon style). My kids got to see part of the not so little town I grew up in just north of the Bay in San Fran. I really missed mom when I was there, something fierce.We went to Disneyland and managed to surprise the kids. It was magical and I can't wait to go back and really spend some time in each place. Now we are busy remodeling our little Airstream to get it ready for our next adventure. 

I will really introduce our Airstream in the next post. Since she really wasn't stay ready we used her as a giant portable bathroom for us in the middle of nowhere. I highly recommend keeping those training potties...it came in so handy! Take lots of snacks but in lots of varieties, have packs of wipes and plastic grocery sacks for trash. Take a cooler so that you can save money on drinks (crystal light and water bottles y'all). Plan out stops and expect to have an accident. Pack your kids extra clothes for the car, some gallon ziplock bags in case they have one. You'll be prepared so you won't get upset and it will be less stressful, oh and some extra towels.

I planned out our Disney trip knowing we only had 2 days at the park. I studied the maps until I knew it nearly by heart. I chose one must do ride for each kid and then we were free to explore the things that were neat and caught our eye. We did do a character lunch at Ariel's Grotto...worth every penny. We also got the photo pass and we will get it every time we go from now on. I have great pictures of ALL of us. The photographers are really great and really do know how to get the best shot wherever you are. It was truly two days of magic!

I could have stayed at Yellowstone for forever. Breathtakingly beautiful. I cannot wait to take our Airstream and have some awesome little adventures with the kids. We stayed at The Yellowstone Hotel. It has been beautifully restored in the lobby and dining areas, and they are working on the rooms. It was a little Shining-esque, but only for Dale and I :). I want to really camp next time. I spotted lots of animals and it was fun looking for them while we drove. 

It was fun and exhausting...worth every second!