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Monday, March 13, 2017

The belly is growing!

I love to capture our life in pictures and we recently had maternity pictures taken. It had been gorgeous the entire week EXCEPT for the morning that we were to be outside – it was cold, the girls were marginally cooperative, but nonetheless our beloved photographer was able to capture some great shots of who we are.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spring Fever!

Here in Ohio we’ve had a pretty mild winter that has most certainly had us forgetting all about snow and looking forward to consistently warmer temperatures.

Which means, of course, that as we approach the start of official spring in 10 days that it is going to be freezing and snowy! There is no question that I live in the wrong area of the country with as much as I (have always) despise winter and being cold.

Regardless, we are STILL looking forward to spring because it is sure to bring a lot of fun for our family! And with the fun, comes a totally crazy schedule. And you know, a new baby!

Gianna and Aleesia (& their cousin Luci) are preparing for their dance recital in May – they have 2 dances each this year and it is sure to be stinking adorable. Aleesia just started a once a week sports class, which she LOVES. Gianna will be starting softball in a couple of weeks, which should be interesting. I hope she enjoys it! On top of the kids stuff, Mike is back to being a head lacrosse coach so we have to take his practice/game schedule into consideration also.

Gianna will be turning 8 in April (which I can’t believe at all) and she is preparing for her First Communion in May as well.  We also have Easter approaching, my niece will turn 1 soon and the girls have spring break and Mike and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary (again, kind of unbelievable how fast that went by)!  Our weekends through June are pretty jam-packed with the exception of my recently instituted “no plans Sunday afternoons” so that we can get our house clean, laundry done, projects accomplished and try to fit in some snuggling and quality time before the total chaos of each week begins.

I feel like there are other things happening simultaneously as well, but I think they are mostly school related and some of what’s going on there requires a whole separate post. We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if there wasn’t 100 things happening at one time, right?! This new baby will fit right into our routine, at least that’s been one of my prayers lately – for a smooth adaptation and entry into our family.

Some things that have helped me to (attempt) remain calm amidst the chaos are to be diligent with keeping an organized schedule (in 3 different places!), meal planning, preparing all of Gianna’s lunches on Sunday nights so it’s one less thing to do during the week, keeping things picked up before I go to bed (it helps, even when I don’t want to do it) and honestly, giving the 2 older girls some responsibility to manage their own stuff/stay organized. As I tell them on the days when cooperation is lacking – most of what we do every day is FOR THEM, not me so when they don’t help out by listening and being ready when I need them to be, they suffer in the end.

It sometimes feels overwhelming, but then I remember that this is our season of life – the chaos, adventure, etc. won’t be here forever so I try to find the joy in it even when really I just want to pull my hair out and hide under the covers!

Talk to me about your spring – what is going on in your life? What are you looking forward to (or not!)? What helps you to stay organized and maintain a cooperative household?!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pancakes & PJS Party

We celebrated Vivian adn Aleesia’s birthdays last month with a pancakes and pajama’s brunch party – it was such a fun party to plan and who doesn’t looooove pancakes and hanging out with friends in pjs?! It was an awesome party for a newly minted 2 and 4 year old.

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We used some simple decorations in pink, blue, purple and gold that were left from one of the many parties we’ve had in the past as well as a few new ones from the dollar spot at Target – super simple.

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I set up a little craft for the kiddos – just some cocloring sheets and fruit loop necklaces – they honestly just played in our playroom 90% of the time but a few fruit loop crafts were made.

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We also had cereal as our thank you gift.

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We served pancakes (obviously! and also thanks to my stepdad!), a vegetable egg bake, bacon, fruit and yogurt. We had cookies, cake and donuts for dessert!

Check out these awesome caks and cookies – so lucky to have such a talented local baker.

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We took a break from the playing and sang to these pretty birthday girls

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And the big(gest) sister was a total goofball the entire morning!

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We are so lucky to have such awesome people in our lives, but there were 30 kids under 8 here (yes, really) and as much as I wanted to get a picture of all of them i knew better than to even attempt it!

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The only part of hosting parties that is difficult is that I can’t also photograph the party – but suffice it to say this was a simple, effective, easy to pull together party that can be “themed” any other way you want.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A letter to my {second} daughter: F-O-U-R!

Aleesia!

Today you move from a threenager to a big four year old! I think I will always remember how excited but scared I was for you to arrive – I had NO idea how to be a mom of more than 1 girl but I quickly figured it out.

I figured out that you were just what I (we) needed – the challenge, laughter, salty and sweetness you bring to every.single.day keep us continuously on our toes. We need to keep our eye on you because, well, you’re mischevious! You’ve cut your own hair, drew a mural on the wall (it was a good cat…) and turned yourself into cat girl. You often hide things in your pockets, sneak candy in your room, sneak things out of your sisters’ rooms, play a mean game of hide-and-seek, go outside when no one is looking, play with makeup that is definitly not yours, and ask for forgiveness for all of the above later.

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You have always loved to snuggle and I hope that continues into the age of four – I cherish the moments where you snuggle up to me and cover me with your blanket. Especially these days when we are always on the go and there aren’t a lot of moments when just the two of us spend time alone.

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Speaking of alone – you LOVE to be alone with me, or daddy, or any other adult in your life – it’s as if you are an only child holding the spot of second-oldest. I can’t explain it exactly but you certainly behave the best, have the most to say and simply are so especially enjoyable when you get a chance to shine alone whether that is while Vivian is napping and Gianna is at school or if we are on a special trip to Target.

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Some of your favorite things to do are: talk about everything, read books, color, listen to music, go to the library, read books, dance, sing, play with your American Girl doll, read books, snuggle, make people laugh, play outside, play with the dog, do math (no, really!) and make crafts. You love your dance classes this year. You love school – your favorite parts are drama and music (no huge surprise there!). You are starting to make some of your own friends, watching your initial shyness bloom into your ‘true’ personality around others is really fun! You love dance and I am loving watching all that you are learning there each week because your skills are improving so quickly!

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You’ve taught me that whatever I learned being Gianna’s mom before you were born doesn’t matter because you are YOU and I need to learn to be Aleesia’s mom. That means big bear hugs and soft speaking when you start to get a little ahead of your emotions and more negotiating and explaining than I might *want* to do to avoid a full melt-down. There are days when there are more tears, definance and overall attitude than I know what to do with and then there are other days where we enjoy so much laughter, smiles, jokes, kindness and sweetness that my heart bursts into a million pieces. We both need those happy days to fill up our tanks as a means to handle the hard days. When you REALLY laugh, I think the whole world laughs too – it is infectious!5.30  (144)6.2  (24)DSC_0937

This year you are going to become a big sister again and you are SO excited – a level of excitement I hope continues once the baby is here! You ask so often about the baby, love to feel it kick and wiggle and offer up many name suggestions which I love to hear. You have grown SO MUCH as a big sister this year – you watch over Vivian and help as much as I could expect you to. You tell me “I can handle this” when you know certain things need to be done and it is really sweet – as much as it is hard to see at times, I see a servant’s heart forming inside of you. The pride that beams from your face when you have helped someone is unmistakable.  You enjoy playing with Vivian and teaching her things – we have a little ways to go with sharing and taking turns, but the growth I’ve seen is imense this past year with so much more room to grow and learn from each other.  You’re a pretty fabulous little sister too – looking up to Gianna so much. And let’s not forget your cousins – you adore them and you and Luci – well you might as well be sisters!

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We often refer to you as our little Gypsy – you love adventure and to be away from home whether that means spending the night with Grandma or one of your aunts or heading out of town to a hotel! We went a few different places this year, one of which was Disney World this summer (your second time) and you have asked to return nearly every single day since – recently you told me we HAD to go back so that you could show Ariel your hair since you cut it! You love to explore – there isn’t much that scares you or that you won’t try (for better or worse). I hope we can always feed your sense of adventure and exploration – it is contagious.

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Four is going to be a year of continued, rapid growth – another baby, more preschool, trying new sports and continuing with dance, making new friends and growing current friendships, learning more and loving on others to the best of your ability. You’re going to continue to blaze your own path, there is no doubt about it!

I am proud of you every day and I love you more than words can say. I hope you feel loved for all the minutes of your life – especially the hard ones.

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Love you!

Mommy

Monday, January 30, 2017

It’s about kindness

This is about kindness, not politics. It’s about being human and loving others, not religion.

President Trump, not someone I am a fan of whatsoever, has put into effect an executive order that affects every.single.person in this country whether you think it does or not. 

I’m surprised this requires reminding, but this country was founded and built on the backs of those who came here from elsewhere – immigrants, refugees fleeing countries where they were no longer free to believe in their religion of choice or to practice their preferred profession or to love the people closest to them. MY family is here because they were granted entry into this country through Elis Island. YOUR family is here because they were granted entry.

I can guarantee that you ARE affected by this information not just from a family history standpoint but from a your-life-today standpoint. If you went to college, you surely had many classmates who were first generation citizens or many who came here on student visas, whose parents fought hard to come to the United States to give their children a life that wasn’t possible in the country where they were born, I was dorm-mates with several individuals who earned their green cards before we graduated. Those people, those colleauges, they were (are) the most patriotic, loyal citizens I’ve ever known. 

Your doctor, your pharmacist, the person who helped to engineer the bridge you drive over every day to work or school, the scientist who helped to create the medication you take on a daily basis, the educator who helped to mold your career, the owner of your favorite restaurant, the individual who provides translation services for the military helping to prevent actual terrorist attacks – SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE are here, working and living alongside us every single day in ways you would never realize that were born in other countries.

Some of the smartest, most amazing human beings are here from somewhere else as LEGAL CITIZENS – they came here and PROVED that they were WORTHY of being United States citizens – something none of us who were privliged enough to be born here were forced to do.

Can you imagine having to leave the country because there was a death in your family, or a wedding to be celebrated, or your job required you to travel outside of the US – leaving your home, family and life behind for (what should have been a finite) time period, only to be REFUSED access back into the country of which you are a LEGAL CITIZEN? Or having to undergo, as was amended “secondary screening, but everything else will be normal.”

It truly is not normal for someone to be required to further prove that they are, in fact, citizens of this country and justified to return to THEIR HOME or to require an immigration lawyer before traveling. What about a family who, fleeing horrors I can’t even let myself imagine, after two years of vetting and proving they are worthy to come into this country is denied entry – on the day they had looked forward to for years – because of their religion and where they were, unfortunately, born? This is happening.

NOTHING about this makes sense. Nothing about this represents what this country was founded upon. If additional security measures should be imparted in specific circumstances so be it – I’m not here to debate that – but this goes WAY beyond anything that has been done before as far as my research tells me.

There are a whole host of other issues and bills and executive orders in the works or that have occured in the past 10 days that are so extreme we should all be consulting our history books alongside a calendar to make sure this isn’t the 1930s – but again, I am really not wanting to debate that – if you want to talk about it, email me.

Here’s what I AM saying –Stand up for what you believe in, peacefully (but not unrelentingly, if you are so moved). If you have facts, share them in a way that helps to educate and not demean others – we each have an opinion and that is wonderful – but unbiased facts do stand alone at the end of the day.

However, remember that during this incredibly difficult and hard to understand time, a time where so many of us are left baffled, angry, hurt, confused and up to our eyeballs in research trying to figure out what the hell is happening in our country – we all need to make a little extra effort to put out kindness, love and genuine action wherever and however possible into the universe. You have no idea what the person next to you is experiencing (every day, regardless of political happenings or otherwise) – be nice, hold the door, smile, remember that actions speak louder than words.